I am back from a fabulous workshop trip to Finland with Arena Travel and have spent the last few days attempting to get back into work mode in here in the studio - not an easy task when the weather is so lovely and warm and the garden is calling me! I hope that wherever you are you are keeping cool and enjoying this snippet of heat. I think we need to make the most of it as the forecast is looking cooler as we head into next week.
I am here with a quick catch up email to tell you about a few things going on here. I had hoped to send this to you last week, but I was so busy in Finland that I didn't even open my lap top! I have a few things to tell you about this week so I hope you can spare a couple of minutes to catch up with all the news here at Janie Crow.
As I have already said, the trip to Finland was super! We had 3 days in Helsinki and then 3 in Vaasa, where I finally got to see Korsnas sweaters being made. I have waited so long to see these amazing garments and felt a bit emotional when I finally laid eyes on them, especially as the craftsmanship was so exquisite. The garments are a traditional piece of local costume and are made using both crochet and knitting techniques. The crochet bands are made using 4ply yarn and a fine (2mm) hook, with intricate patterns that are created by changing yarn shade using the jacquard technique, with up to four colours used per round.
The crochet bands are then knitted onto by a group of three women. The pattern repeat is made by working one round using the fairisle technique and two rounds of stocking stitch using cream. One lady in the group does the colour and the other two work in cream. Working in this way means that three rounds can be worked at the same time. It kind of blew my mind to begin with, but when I thought it through I could see how logical it was to work in this way in order to speed up the production process.
You can find more images from my trip, where we also did a beaded mitts knitting workshop and learnt to make 'Himmeli' mobiles on my Instagram feed here. If you are interested in participating in this wonderful trip I think there are still a few spaces left on the next holiday in August with Carol Meldrum. You can find more information by following this link.
If you are beginning to think about workshop trips for next year, then you might be interested in joining me on the Knit For Peace trip to Mysore in January. I have booked my flight this morning and am really looking forward to going back to India after what will be a 3 year break. Mysore is an amazing city with lots to see and do and the trip also includes visits to local projects supported by the charity. Morning (weekday) workshops are included in the price and they take place under the shady pergola in the garden so that we can all keep cool. The yarn for the project I will set is also included in the cost of the trip. There will be plenty of time for shopping and sightseeing too!
If you have never been to India, the surroundings of Mysore are a gentle introduction to this amazing country. If you have been to India before, but maybe only visited larger cities on the travellers trail, then you might like the idea of going somewhere a little less touristy to get a true taste of India. The holiday runs from 11th to 25th January and you can find more information about the trip by contacting KFP. You can find FAQs by following this link.
The last few months have been all about preparing for workshops as I had the Iceland and Finland trip and next week I will be tutoring a workshop in Bournemouth. Working on workshop projects has meant that I have had to put new design plans on the back burner for a while. I am really looking forward to getting stuck back into some new design work in July and really hope that you might get to see a new project in the autumn when we will also be launching the pattern and new colour way of my Indigo Dreams blanket.
We finally have good stock of a large number of project kits. I know it can be hard to think about a large blanket project when it is warm, but I also know that many of you have been eagerly waiting for some of these to be available. We have good stock of all the following kits. Please click on the images for more information:
Emma's video to accompany Part Two will be available to watch for
free on our Youtube channel next week
The Fruit Garden - Love is Enough & Night & Dusk kits in stock.
Persian Tiles - original and light blue version.
Other kits are available, so if the one you are looking for is not listed above please do take a look at the website to check our stock holding.
After coming across an article in the British press a couple of weeks ago (see 'Words from the Web' later on in this email) we asked the following question of our Facebook followers:
What does crochet mean to you?
Almost 90 of you shared your thoughts with us and, although there were a variety of themes coming through in your answers, the main answers were that crochet helps you to manage anxiety and stay calm; that it has helped during times of illness and that it helps in coping with disability.
For some of you the use of colour in crochet is a form of therapy, whilst for others it has helped you to socialise with fellow crafters. Some took up crochet during lock-down, whereas others were taught by family members and are passing the skills down to their children. All very interesting stuff!
If you'd like to read the comments in more detail, head on over to our Facebook page by clicking on the image below.
Of course, we must also mention Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee pageant which took place a fortnight ago. Knowing that lots of yarn bombing has been going on around the country, we asked you to share any images of examples you had come across or had a hand in making. Here are some of the brilliant photos you sent through to us:
Here is the article that prompted us to ask the question about what crochet means to you over on our Facebook page. Please note that the article header does contain flashing images so we would recommend caution if you are sensitive to these.
We would be really interested to hear from you if you have used crochet as a form of therapy. If you are struggling with your mental health or with any other health issues you can find links to organisations that can help you at the end of the article - just click on the image below:
Have you ever heard of 'camouflage' knitting? We were blown away when we came across an article about garments that are created to seamlessly blend into their surroundings. The collaboration between photographer Joseph Ford and knitting professional Nina Dodd was published in the book 'Invisible Jumpers' in 2019, click on the image below for more information.
Nina is based in Brighton and you can see more of her work on her website here. Some of the projects are just so clever!
Gemma had a go at making this speedier version of lasagne a few weeks ago. She substituted the sausages with courgettes, red peppers and celery to make a vegetarian version. The ricotta topping was really tasty and the overall dish had a lighter feel than a traditional lasagne. Gemma would highly recommend it!
I am planning to make an aubergine one pot lasagna this evening, so I will let you know how I have got on with that next week. The recipe comes from Jamie Oliver's VEG book, but you can also find it here.
What do you like to knit or crochet during the warm weather? I have been working on a blanket project, so have been using some thickish yarns which have made me feel a bit hot and sticky at times, but I also have a few smaller cotton motifs on my hook so that I don't get too warm. I think that today's crochet will be done later on this evening when it is likely to be a little cooler in the garden.
This will be my first weekend at home in a few weeks and we have the family coming over on Sunday (just when the weather is due to break!) so I am looking forward to seeing them and spending some time pottering around - my new favourite things to do!
We are still working on the lean-to that Andy added to the summer house last year. It now has a roof and we have been staining the wood darker. It already feels so good to sit up in the garden under cover and I am really looking forward to the point where I can start to dress it all up with shelves, lanterns and pot plants. I love the fact that the summer time provides us with so much more space, even if it is for a relatively short time. I try to spend as much time out there as I can, pretty much whatever the weather!
I am a huge fan of junk shop finds and love walking around our local charity shops in search of bric-a-brac and small pieces of furniture. Andy has banned me from bringing anymore small tables home (I have a bit of a things for them), but this week I came across 2 fabulous chests, one of which I have since discovered is probably a 'bible box'. I think it is really old and it has definitely seen better days so I am hoping to spend some giving it a bit of a tidy up this weekend. I will post some images on my Lifestyle Instagram feed if you want to see the process. The top image shows my box and the image underneath that one is from a feed I have found that features lots of similar items.
As always, I would love to hear what you might be working on at the moment, whether it is a knit or crochet project or something completely different. You might be attempting to renovate a piece of furniture like me, or you might have a garden project going on - whatever it is, please let us know. I hope you enjoy the forthcoming weekend and that you all stay safe.
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