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I am so excited to finally be able to properly share with you my new addition to The Fruit Garden blanket family in the shape of 'Red House', a brand new colourway inspired by a carpet design by William Morris and John Henry Dearle.
The Bullerswood carpet, which is known to be one of Morris's Hammersmith carpets is on display at the V&A Museum in London and you can find more information about it by following this link. There is also video about how the museum care for and renovate this precious textiles artefact here.
The V&A say:
'The Bullerswood is one of the last carpets designed by Morris himself in about 1889. Its complex design features scrolling arabesques with stylised flowers and birds and a border with repeat motifs of leaves and flowers. Though designed for practical use and wear, the carpet's cotton warp, jute weft, and woollen pile – richly coloured with a range of natural dyes – are actually extremely fragile....
This hand-knotted carpet is the first weaving of a design made by William Morris and his assistant J.H. Dearle. Two later weavings of the design were made. All of Morris & Co.'s hand-knotted carpets are called 'Hammersmiths' after the location of his London home, where they were first woven.'
I have named this colourway of the blanket 'Red House' after William & Jane Morris's first home in Bexleyheath. May Morris was born at the house and when I visited back in 2018 to attend the photoshoot for Climbing Rose Wrap I took some photos that included parts of a red and blue carpet in the hallway. It was these images that then prompted me to look the Bullerswood Carpet at the V&A.
The order of colour use for this new version is exclusive to my Fruit Garden blanket book, which you can find out more information about slightly further down this email. We have kits for the project available on a pre-sale basis at a cost of £74.50. You will need to purchase the book separately. Kits and books will be sent out from week beginning 13th September.
For the first time in ages we also have yarn packs for the Night & Dusk version of the project in stock. This colourway has been made using Stylecraft's lovely Naturals - Bamboo + Cotton yarn in a soft blue and grey mixture of shades with accents of peach, pink and soft greens.
Kits for Night & Dusk are available for immediate dispatch and cost £69.50.
I am so excited to finally be able to reveal my new book 'The Fruit Garden Crochet Blanket', which will be published on Friday 17th September.
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 colour way of the blanket project, 'Red House', which I have already told you about above.
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.
The book will be published on Friday 17th September and will be available via the Janie Crow web site and Stylecraft stockists. If you want to get your order in early, we have the books available on a pre-sale basis now.
All versions of the blanket use yarns from the Stylecraft range, including Life DK, Naturals – Bamboo + Cotton and the new Organic Cotton.
You can find a video of me flicking through the test print version of the book by clicking on the image above or here. The test print is spiral bound, but the final book will be perfect bound.
If you have been following my emails for the last couple of months then you will know that we are moving out of the studio at the end of September. What you might not know is that we have decided that after nearly 3 years as a separate entity to Janie Crow, Andy's Just Knots web site will merge back with Janie Crow from the end of August/early September. This will mean that some stock items from Just Knots will be available within the Lifestyle section of Janie Crow and that Just Knots will stop selling yarn and kits and will work as an eBay only stockist of hooks, needles and accessories.
We are really excited about the changes going on and see it as a really positive step. Our business has changed massively over the course of the last 2 years and downsizing Just Knots means we can give more attention to Janie Crow as the demand for my design work has grown so enormously over the last couple of years. We hope that you will see positive changes on the Janie Crow site as we start to give it a little more TLC.
In order to move from our current premises and downsize Just Knots we have decided to sell off all third party yarn packs and kits and also want to sell through all our yarn stock. Andy has put some really great reductions on items in his store and there are still a few bargains to be had. You can find the remaining reduced yarn here and kits here. Look out for more bargains over the next few weeks while we continue to sort out our stock ready for our move!
Of course I am spamming you all with a few more wedding pics! Summer and Chris had a couple of their official shots back from the photographer and the bulk of these will come through to us soon, but this week I thought I would share some of the pics from the fun snap booth that they had at the reception.
The top two images are probably self explanatory. In the third image down Andy and I are with our lovely office assistant Sue. The fourth image is of the fabulous Sarah Hazell with her husband Paul. Sarah is a huge support to me on the pattern writing and creative side of things and she also does our pattern queries. Clearly we all liked the idea of playing the little blue guitar!
At last it looks like better news in terms of yarn supplies We have been able to put 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.
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. Unfortunately our recent trials with paper and card packaging were not totally successful (especially when mail delivery companies leave parcels in wet porches are in puddles of water), so we are hoping that this is a better solution.
I have been working in collaboration with US yarn brand Mary Maxim for the last couple of years. Working with them gives customers in the US & Canada easier access to yarn kits for my designs and means that Mary Maxim are in control of creating and sending the parcels so that recipients do not incur big shipping charges and import taxes.
Last spring I designed a new version of my Persian Tiles blanket which is exclusively available via Mary Maxim. The colourway is called Sandalwood and after months of being out of stock due to yarn shortages I am pleased to say that it is back in stock - and it even has a $10 reduction on the price to celebrate! You can find Sandalwood kits by following this link. Please don't email asking for the colour listing as this is exclusive to the Mary Maxim kit.
This week Mary Maxim have released a brand 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.
We are really excited that we will be exhibiting at Yarndale towards the end of 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.
We had a really great time in Bournemouth for our first workshop weekend in 18 months a couple of weeks ago. It was just so good to see everyone and it was amazing just how quickly it all felt very 'normal'. We have secured a date to do a crochet workshop again for June next year and will start putting plans in place for the event soon. Once the information about the event goes live I will let you know.
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 on September 24th.
At the weekend I made a carrot cake for my lovely sister in law Julie, who has been through a horrendous couple of months. I followed this recipe via BBC Good Food.
The cake was easy to make, but I was a little concerned that it might be a bit stodgy given that it didn't rise as much as I thought it should, so on Tuesday evening I made another one for us to try at home. Thankfully, whilst it is a very moist cake, it is not as dense as I feared and has actually become more and more delicious over the course of the last 3 days since I made it. I will definitely be adding it to my favourites list.
As usual we have a quiet weekend planned. Andy has made good progress on the lean to at the end of the garden and we have been busy at home having a good old clear up as we continue to make plans for a few home improvements. Our loft and garage had become dumping grounds for anything we didn't really know what to do with so we have finally sorted through about 20 years of hoarding! It has been hard work, but quite cathartic too, especially as we prepare for new horizons here at Janie Crow.
We decided to add an enclosed shed area to the lean to, which will be accessible via the summer house. This should act as a good storage space for us going forwards and we are hoping that we will also have space for a wood store and a small greenhouse as we have really enjoyed growing some vegetables and flowers from seed this year.
We are especially proud of our aubergines, which are suddenly growing like crazy. One of the plants has about 7 fruit on it and, whilst we possibly should have culled most of them in order to grow bigger specimens, I am really in love with the mini aubergines that are busy growing on the patio.
I am between crochet projects at the moment so I am looking forward to some new design work. I have a few ideas for a blanket design and want to find a new down time project too. Charlie found a great article about a group of crocheters in Malaga, Spain who grouped together to make an amazing handmade sun canopy.
You can find the article about this amazing canopy by following this link to Colossal. Here is a snippet of text from the piece:
'Beating the heat in the town of Alhaurín de la Torre, in Malaga is an art, literally. A massive patchwork of crocheted squares now blankets the main shopping corridor thanks to local crochet teacher Eva Pacheco and over a dozen students. Three years ago, the city council’s Department of the Environment decided to swap a large plastic tarp with a more eco-friendly and colorful solution. The textile tarp features colorful geometric patterns, organic shapes that radiate like stepping stones, and other symbols and colors selected by the students. Pacheco and the group of women have expanded the canopy, and it now covers an area of nearly 500 square meters.'
That is pretty much it from me this time. I leave you with this lovely article about the smily Herdwick sheep of The Lake District, which also explains the links that Beatrix Potter had to farms of the area and The National Trust.
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend...
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