Hello lovely crafters! I hope this email finds you all well.
I should have sent you my August Newsletter yesterday, but the last couple of weeks have been so incredibly busy that I was unable to find the time to do it! Instead I am writing you this email today as there are a couple of things I want to tell you about, so I hope you have a few minutes to catch up with all things Janie Crow....
I have been working flat out to finish the motif designs for my new CAL project, which will launch in Inside Crochet magazine in January. This CAL will be a little different to those I have presented previously with the emphasis on crocheters making a few more decisions about colour palettes and layouts than usual. I am really excited about the project and can't wait to reveal it to you later in the year. I have already posted a few sneaky pics on my Instagram feed and have posted them below too!
Working on the designs for the last 6 weeks or so has left little room for anything else, but I have also been working with a fabulous group of test crocheters to finalise the patterns for my Tidings Wrap, which we will be launching as an Advent CAL in December. We will be launching this in late October, so I will bring you more information about that soon too. We took some lovely images of the project at our recent photography shoot, so I hope the pic below will whet your appetite for this design, which was previously released as an Advent CAL by Jimmy Beans US.
I know I have told you this so many times - but we are almost ready to launch the Indigo Dreams project as a pattern with accompanying kits in two colour ways. These are the original blue (Indigo) version and a new red and cream one. Kits are being packed now and they will be available in mid September along with the pattern, which you will be able to choose to download or have a paper copy of.
Thank you for the incredible reaction to the Sandalwood version of my Persian Tiles blanket. Kits sold within about 2 hours of release a couple of weeks ago, so we have ordered more yarn. Unfortunately the yarn company are now out of stock of one of the shades used in the design, so this is another case where the kits will not be back in stock until September I'm afraid.
I feel like I have been teasing you with the promise of new stuff for ages and I am so sorry that the release of Sandalwood did not go quite to plan - clearly we should have ordered more yarn, but it is so hard to judge how a project will be received, especially as this one has a higher price point than usual.
Last weekend I designed a granny square and posted the pattern on my blog for Granny Square Day. My block is called 'A Flower for Alice' and you can find the free pattern by following this link. It has been really lovely seeing some of these popping up on social media over the last week.
A couple of days ago Emily of The Loopy Stitch started a conversation on Instagram about how much the social media platform has changed recently and how she longs for the old style Instagram to return. You can see Emily's post here. I totally agree with Emily and so we decided to continue the conversation on the Janie Crow feed. It seems many of you agree that the reels, adverts and general noisiness of Instagram, as well as how the algorithm thing seems to mess with what you actually get to see, is putting you off the platform. Quite a few people have suggested using hashtags in an attempt to make a point about what we do and don't want to see. I think it's a really interesting topic, so go and take a look if you have something to say about this or want to see what other people say.
Andy and I will be taking a break from Janie Crow for the next few weeks. We are really excited about a bit of time out after the madness that has been 2022 so far. I will be packing some crochet to take away with me and am looking forward to some hooking at a slightly slower pace than I have been used to lately.
The website will be open for orders of most kits and paper patterns and of course download patterns will continue to be available via Etsy and Ravelry while we are away. As we may have restricted internet access at times over the next few weeks it might be that orders are dispatched a little less regularly than usual. We have disabled first class postage as a result.
We will be back at our desks mid September and will be at Yarndale on the 24th and 25th. We are really looking forward to the show already and hope that many of you will be able to join us there.
I will be back here in your inbox in about a month's time and hope that you all keep well in the mean time. Emma, Gemma and Sarah will be holding the fort brilliantly here at Janie Crow while we are away and Charlie will be stepping in to sort out any orders. We will continue to monitor emails, so if you have any queries or want to get in touch about anything, please feel free to so do.
Big yarny hugs
I am really honoured to have been nominated in the Iconic Crochet Designer category of this year's Knit & Crochet awards. It goes without saying that I would love it if you would vote for me. You can find the Let's Knit website here and you can click on the different categories to find out more and to vote.
I am excited to present you to my contribution to Granny Square Day 2022 - a floral granny that I hope you will like. You can find that pattern lower down this post.
I have always considered a granny square to be a piece of crochet that is built by making repeated blocks of treble stitches (US dc), but it seems the term can be used in relation to any square crochet block these days and I am sure we are going to see a wonderful variety posted on social media to celebrate the day.
According to Edie Eckman in The Crochet Answer Book a granny square is:
'.......a special form of square motif. Although there are many variations on the granny square, the traditional one is a double-crocheted (UK tr) square made with a series of chain and double-crocheted (UK treble) blocks - a kind of filet crochet in the round.'
The earliest recorded example of a granny square as we know it was designed by Mrs Phelps and the pattern was published in The Prairie Farmer, a publication that featured agricultural and rural news for the State of Illinois, in 1885.
My Great Grandmother, Alice, learnt to crochet when she was young and made the most intricate traditional lace crochet. She was taught how to make a granny square in the 1970s and from that time onwards, until she passed away in the 1980s, she made hundreds of granny square blankets, often buying sweaters from jumble sales to unravel and reuse the yarn. She donated her blankets to raffles and to charities for fundraising and many of her fabulous blankets still exist as cherished items throughout our family members.
I have called my floral granny 'A Flower For Alice' in honour of my Nanna Martin. Scroll down to find the pattern and some step-by-step images.
A Flower for Alice
You will need 6 shades of DK weight yarn and a 4mm hook.
Stylecraft Organic Cotton DK 100% Organic Cotton - 105m (115yds) per 50g ball
Stylecraft ReCreate 100% Recycled Polyester - 350m (382yds) per 100g ball
Note: All rounds are RS facing.
Using Buttermilk and 4mm hook make a magic loop.
Foundation Round: 1ch (does not count as a st), 8dc into ring, ss to join, fasten off. (8sts)
Round 1: Using Avocado join yarn into any st by working 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into same st, 1ch, [1dc into next st, 1ch] to end, ss to join, fasten off. (8sts & 8 ch-sps)
Round 2: Using Plum join yarn into any ch-sp by working 1ch + 2ch (counts as 1tr), 2tr into same ch-sp, 3tr into each ch-sp to end, ss to join, fasten off. (24sts)
Pre-Blocked Measurement: Approximately 4.5cm wide.
Round 3: Using Avocado join yarn into st-sp between any group of 3tr by working 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into same st-sp, 4ch, skip 3sts, [1dc into next st-sp, 4ch, skip 3sts] to end, ss to join, fasten off. (8sts & 8 ch-sps)
Round 4: Using Papaya and working in front of ch made on previous round throughout, join yarn into top of first tr of any 3tr group made on Round 2 (Plum) by working 1ch + 2ch (counts as 1tr), 3tr into next st, 1tr into next st, skip next dc, 1tr into next st; repeat from * to end omitting 1tr on final repeat, ss to join, fasten off. (40sts)
Make sure you still have 8 ch-sps left at the back of the work as you are going to use these to create your square later on.
Pre-Blocked Measurement: Approximately 7.5cm wide.
Round 5: Using Peach join yarn into top of first tr of any 5tr group by working 1ch + 2ch (counts as 1tr), * 2tr into each next 3sts, 2ch, ss into next st, 1tr around front post of next dc made on Round 3 (Avocado) (I placed my hook through the tunnel created by the dc so that I wasn’t around the whole of the post), ss into first tr on next petal, 3ch; repeat from * to end omitting 3ch on final repeat, ss to join, fasten off. (8 petals made)
Pre-Blocked Measurement: Approximately 10cm wide.
Round 5: Using Artichoke and keeping RS facing but working behind the petals throughout, join yarn into any ch-sp made on Round 3 (Avocado) by working 1ch + 2ch (counts as 1tr), 2tr into same ch-sp, 3ch, 3tr into same ch-sp, 1ch, [3tr into next ch-sp, 1ch, [3tr, 3ch, 3tr] into next ch-sp, 1ch] 3 times, 3tr into next ch-sp, 1ch, ss to join, do not fasten off. (36sts & 12 ch-sps)
Round 6: ss into each next 2sts, ss into next ch-sp, 3ch (counts as 1tr), 1tr into same ch-sp, * 1tr into 4th st on petal made on Round 5 (Peach) and same ch-sp at the same time, 3ch, 1tr into next st on petal and same ch sp at the same time, 2tr into same ch-sp, 1ch, [3tr into next ch-sp, 1ch] twice, 2tr into next ch-sp; repeat from * to end omitting 2tr on final repeat, ss to join, do not fasten off. (48sts & 16 ch-sps)
Round 7: ss into each next 2sts, ss into next ch-sp, 3ch (counts as 1tr), 2tr into same ch-sp, 3ch, 3tr into same ch-sp, * 1ch, 3tr into next ch-sp, 1ch, 1tr into next ch-sp, skip 4sts on petal made on round 5 (Peach), 1tr into next st-sp and same ch-sp at the same time, 1tr into same ch-sp, 1ch, 3tr into next ch-sp, 1ch, ** [3tr, 3ch, 3tr] into next ch-sp; repeat from * to end finishing last repeat at **, ss to join, fasten off. (60sts & 20 ch-sps)
Pre-Blocked Measurement: Approximately 12cm wide.
Sew in your yarn ends and block if it's curling. I used cotton to make my granny so it has stayed pretty flat and doesn't need blocking. I sewed an orange bead at the centre of my flower using a fine sewing needle and thread.
I hope you like my floral granny and that you might fancy making a couple. If you do, and would like to share them on social media, please tag me in using #janiecrow @janiecrow
Granny Square Day is organised by Simply Crochet Magazine and this year they are supporting Operation Orphan, so if you are able to make a donation please do so. #grannysquareday2022
I hope this email finds you all well and that you are looking forward to your weekend. It has been a busy week here, with quite a few exciting things finally coming to life! You can find more information about a new kit and a few other newbies below, so I hope you have a few minutes to spare for a quick catch up!
I am really excited to tell you that from the end of next week we hope to have kits in stock for my Sandalwood version of Persian Tiles, which until now has only been available via Mary Maxim in the US and Canada. I am incredibly grateful that we have been allowed to stock this kit exclusively in the UK and am especially pleased with the lovely images that photographer Leanne Jade and stylist Claire Montgomerie created with the blanket on our shoot a few weeks ago.
So long as all goes to plan we should have kits in stock towards the end of next week. The yarn is on its way from the US as I type and the kits will include 13x 100g balls. We do not have a price for the kit yet as we are waiting to find out what export charges we will be given. We will only have a limited number of these kits as the first batch is a bit of a test to see what demand is like and to see how the process of ordering at trade from the US goes for us.
We will not be putting the kits on sale on a pre-order basis, or operating a waiting list, so it will definitely be a case of first come first served in regards to getting your hands on one of these kits once the stock goes live. Please note that the colour chart for this version of the blanket is not available separately to the kit, so please don't email asking for it. More information about the kit will be on the website next week, so do keep an eye out if you're interested.
I am really honoured to have been nominated in the Iconic Crochet Designer category of this year's Knit & Crochet awards. It goes without saying that I would love it if you would vote for me. You can find the Let's Knit website here and you can click on the different categories to find out more and to vote.
Last weekend we posted a few polls on Instagram to try to find out what kind of smaller crochet projects you would like to see me design. Bags came out as a clear favourite, as did rectangular wraps and cushion covers. This week I have started to look at colour palettes for these new projects and I am looking forward to getting stuck into the designs soon. The likelihood is that these new projects will not be available until next year as I am working with Stylecraft to create something really special, so I am afraid there will be a bit of a wait. I will try and keep you in the loop in regards to the design process in the mean time. I am going to post a few images about colour palettes on Instagram today that you might be interested in.
I am currently working on a new project that will feature in Inside Crochet Magazine next year. I am REALLY excited about this new design and have thoroughly enjoyed the process so far. Again - I will try to post some sneaky peeks from time to time so that you can keep track of what I am up to!
Our most popular post over on the Facebook group this month was a cover photo change to this beautiful image of the Imogen blanket:
Imogen is a smaller, kind of cot size blanket, which was inspired by traditional Victorian crochet designs. It is made in pure cotton yarn so it makes a lovely project for the summer months.
We came across this inspiring article about a Facebook group called Knit for a unique fit! What a fantastic service they are providing for individuals with limb differences. The Facebook group was started in October 2020 by Rena Rosen, a Chicago teacher born with craniofacial differences. A friend whose daughter was born with Apert syndrome (which can cause unique bone structure or webbing of the hands) was looking for someone to create gloves that fit the girl’s hands just like her sister’s did. We're wondering if a similar group or organisation exists in the UK?
It has never occurred to us that there might be disadvantages to the crafts of knitting or crochet, but this article actually makes an interesting comparison between the two and sites pros and cons of each craft. We know from our recent questions about 'What Does Crochet Mean To You?' that crochet creates many positives for you, but I wonder if you can think of any cons. I find that I can only crochet for a few hours at a time as I get a really achy neck if I am hunched over my hooks for too long. I am not a big TV viewer, which is a good job as I find it almost impossible to crochet and watch TV at the same time, so I prefer to knit on the sofa in front of a good movie! I find knitting a bit of a chore though when there are lots of stitches on the needles and it gets heavy.
I have to disagree with the comment that you can only crochet a few projects compared to knitting - I think my bag(s) of WIPS prove this not to be the case! We would love to know what you think...
ink turnips have been a regular in Gemma's veg box over recent weeks. Not being a huge lover of such things, but determined not to let them go to waste she tried this recipe for turnip gratin from the BBC Good Food website. Apparently it was delicious but very rich and definitely benefitted from a longer cooking time than the recipe suggested. It looks yummy doesn't it!
I have been busy baking this week as we are hosting an 80th birthday party for my father-in-law tomorrow. I have made my 3 favourite cakes - Chocolate Fudge (I double this recipe and cook it in 3 x 20cm tins), Carrot Cake (I cook this at 170 degrees (fan) not 160 as suggested) and Mary Berry's Victoria Sponge (I add another egg to this recipe and put whipped cream and fresh strawberries in the middle and on top). I could really do with expanding my cake repertoire, but I know these 3 work so well. I have put links in for the recipes I use in case you fancy having a go - the Victoria sponge is a game changer as it is so quick and easy. No faffing involved, but you need an electric whisk, which is a total game changer when it comes to cakes!
I am really looking forward to the weekend as we will be seeing the family tomorrow for the party, some of whom we haven't spent time with for quite for a while. Marina has been busy making lots of Julie's bunting for me to decorate the garden with, so I am hoping the weather will be good - it is a little chillier here today than it has been recently.
That's it from me for another week. Do join us on Instagram over the weekend as we have a few more things planned for our stories - we love picking your brains! I will see you back here in 2 weeks time when I will hit your inbox with the August Newsletter - I can't believe I just wrote 'August', the time is flying by! Yarny love...
A couple of months ago Gemma asked the question 'What does crochet mean to you?' on our Facebook page. We received lots of replies, with many contributors saying that crochet had come to mean more to them than simply being a pleasant pass-time.
We found many of the answers to be really insightful and moving. Emma asked the same question on our Instagram feed a few weeks ago. Once again we were inundated with amazing responses, so we thought it would be good to put together a short piece that encapsulates what crochet means to so many of you.
The replies we received fell broadly into 5 categories. These were mental health, relaxation, joy of creating, community spirit and heritage, with many people siting all of these things.
By far the biggest response was in regards to relaxation and the positive effect that crochet has on mental health. There were many gentle words used to describe crochet: calm, tranquil, relaxing, escapism and soothing, for example. Many people said it was their escape into 'me-time'.
There were also some very strong stories of much more intense mental health challenges and issues and at least 3 people said that crochet has saved their life. One lady said that her crochet gives her purpose to get up in the morning. There were several people who found it helped to get through the pandemic - something I have heard a lot over the last couple of years. We received stories of grief and physical challenges as well as relationship and family struggles: all from people who have used crochet as an outlet to stop their minds running away with them. There were a few good stories of physical rehabilitation after injury too. We had quite a few comments saying that you work on easy projects to keep calm and more difficult projects to help distract and focus.
Joy at Creating
Lots of responses expressed joy at colour and texture, at choosing new yarns and new projects and the feeling of achievement that crochet created. Gifting to friends, family and charities also featured heavily in the responses. No one said “this is a hobby” but plenty said it was more than that and stated that their crochet was more about lifestyle and featured in their everyday routines as a priority. Many crocheters expressed their delight at conquering tricky patterns and getting stitch counts right!
Lots of people mentioned the sense of community they feel. Emma was really touched by one lady who commented “it gives a window to this small town girl with no passport”. Lots of people mentioned community through the pandemic and there were many nice stories of friends, co-workers and YouTubers teaching people to crochet.
Lots of people mentioned being taught by a mother or grandmother who had since passed away. Many felt that crochet created a sense of connection to those who have now gone and lots of people expressed regret that they didn’t have more time or interest to learn from family members. Overwhelmingly, the feelings that are connected with learning from a family member were incredibly positive. Many people mentioned this connection and the passing down of knowledge through the generations as a 'gift'. Many responses said that they were hoping to pass along their knowledge in the hope that the craft skills continue through the generations.
There were lots of common themes within the replies we received. So many of you sited your mental health as an incentive to crochet, with lots of you saying you use it to create a space for quiet contemplation and concentration and find the repetitive, mindful process of creating stitches rhythmic and even hypnotising. Many of you used the word 'calming' in relation to the craft and said that the distraction created helps with anxiety and depression.
We had this amazing response from Gigi:
'A new family member taught me the very basics of crochet. I was interested after watching her. I am a person who likes a challenge (to a point!) so I set about watching YouTube tutorials and slowly learning. What I didn’t know was that a complete mental breakdown was headed my way.
For a good 18 months I wasn’t capable of anything creative at all. There was nothing inside of me. Time went on and I had various therapies and I wondered whether crochet would act as therapy- it is a form of mindfulness which helps with anxiety and depression. My head was always out of control. I desperately needed quiet and calm in there. So I took up my hook again to see what would happen and it worked. For me the familiar stitches were repetitive,rhythmic, hypnotising- they created calm. The harder or more intricate stitches and patterns had to wait as I couldn’t concentrate enough to follow anything but eventually my mental state began to improve and I found that following patterns and having to focus deeply gave me respite from the feelings of despair.
Over three years down the line I am much better. Now I am battling with enjoying and valuing crochet for its process. Most days my head will tell me I have no real purpose in life and I feel if I am not crocheting something that has a purpose for someone else then there is no point to it. It is a work in progress tied up into deeply held beliefs about myself. So! To cut a long story short- I agree that crochet helped to save me and continues to help me. I believe it always will.'
One of the comments we received recommended the book 'HOOKED - How crochet saved my life' by actress Sutton Foster, who says she turned to crochet as a way of coping with stress and anxiety caused by huge events in her life, such as the death of her mother and a divorce. The book dives deep into the Broadway and TV star’s poignant moments punctuated by her love for crafting and how it helped her stay sane.
There is a really good video interview with Sutton here in which she talks about how crochet has helped her to process the things that have happened in her life. I really agree with her when she says that her crochet items are a visual reminder of times in her life and it was really interesting to hear her say that the towers of crochet squares she produces help remind her that she is making progress in her healing process.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Emma for helping me put together this piece and to all those of you who have contributed to this discussion. I really hope that there might be things of interest to you here. We continue to monitor replies to the question 'What does crochet mean to you?' on our Instagram feed and there are also some more comments on the post from yesterday which quoted one of the messages. Take a look at our Instagram feed if you want to read more.
This time last week I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days in the company of some of the Stylecraft Blogstars at the first 'in person' meeting for a couple of years. It was really good to catch up in the flesh and chat about all things crochet and yarn. It was a real treat to be shown the new yarns and pattern collections that Stylecraft have ready for release over the forthcoming months too.
I have had such a great week since the meeting and have been working on some new motif designs. It feels so good to finally be getting stuck into a new design and I feel like I am on a real mission to create new things. For the first time in a while I am bouncing out of bed in the morning and can't wait to get to my desk to continue my crochet! As a general rule I try to limit the amount of crochet I do in a day, because I find my hands and neck can get sore as a result of too much hunched hooking, but this week I have spent lots of time crocheting and have loved every minute of it!
At the beginning of the week I rummaged through my stash to create the outline of my first yarn palette for my new project. I get asked about choosing palettes a lot, so you might want to take a look at my Instagram post which explains my process for whittling down the colours.
A couple of weeks ago I did a shoot with Leanne and Claire so that I could have some new images for my website and patterns. It was a really hot day and we were melting by the end of it, but as usual we had a really great time and I am incredibly pleased with the images that Claire styled and Leanne shot - I call them my dream team for a reason!
In the images above you can see my Sandalwood version of Persian Tiles (which I will have some exciting news about soon) and the Tidings Wrap, which I have fallen right back in love with as a result of the shoot. The pattern for the wrap will be released as an advent CAL in December.
I am really looking forward to showing you my new colourway of Indigo Dreams very soon. Now that we have images and all the patterns have been amended to include the new colours I am getting really excited about the release of this pattern. I have been working with graphic designer, Steve, to create a lovely layout plan for the pattern. I have posted an image of what he has created above - isn't it fabulous?
We now have stock of the new print run of The Fruit Garden Blanket book, but those of you who live in the US in particular might be interested to know that I have been working with publishers Charles and James to create a copy specifically for distribution in the US and ROW market. The book will have a slightly different format, but is pretty much identical. The first print run will be 500 copies and they should hit the market within the next couple of months, so if you have a local store they might have it. Working with a new publisher and distributor will cut down on the postage costs from the UK, so I see this as a really good move.
As you know I love to see my blankets 'out in the wild' and really enjoy seeing how other crocheters interpret my designs, so it was really good to see that the guys at Toft have put a new spin on my Mystical Lanterns granny motif to create their new 'Leaf' blanket. You can find out about it here or by clicking on the image above.
I need to apologise to those of you who may have made a pre-order for the Caramel and Parchment yarn kit for my Fruit Garden blanket. We had hoped that these kits would be dispatched this week, but after a problem with sickness at the mill, and because of disruptions caused to the postal service by the hot weather, we have not been able to get all the kits dispatched. Hopefully this situation will be sorted very soon.
If you are looking for a kit we have good stock of quite a few projects at the moment. Check out the website for more information.
We are revisiting my Sunshine and Showers blanket design over the course of this year and into 2023. The CAL was released 5 years ago and features a new stitch for every month of the year, based on typical weather here in the UK. The pattern is available in parts as downloads, but we have never had videos to accompany the design, so Emma has been creating some to help anyone who wants to work through the project.
The videos for parts one, two and three are now available and you can find them on my YouTube Channel. The patterns for each part of the CAL, which are split into 12 pieces, are available for just 95p each with the 'Getting Ready' document available to download for free here. You can find more information about the project by following this link.
A few weeks ago I told you about a lovey new book by Gurinder Kaur Hatchard called 'Head To Toe Crochet'. Today I am really pleased to tell you that we have a copy of the book to give away - how great is that! To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is head over to Gurinder's Instagram feed, like her post and then tag someone in the comments. If you do the same on the Janie Crow feed then you will be put in the hat and be in with a chance to win a copy of this super cute book. You have until midnight Sunday (BST) to enter.
Gurinder is a really talented designer whose work often appears in Inside Crochet Magazine. She works under her company name of Yay For Crochet and I really recommend you take a look at her feed on Instagram too. You can find a link to order this lovely book via Gurinder's website here.
As time seems to be speeding past me these days I am already beginning to plan the workshop I will be tutoring for Knit For Peace in Mysore in January. The workshop is entitled 'Improve your knit and crochet skills' and so I will aim to teach lots of techniques, which hopefully means that participants will come away from the trip with an improved 'toolbox' of techniques to pick from in the future.
The Knit for Peace holiday in Mysore is the perfect way to discover India in comfortable surroundings and friendly company. Whatever your level of knitting or crochet, the beautiful setting of the Green Hotel will provide a starting place for a wonderful adventure. The heritage hotel was set up over 25 years ago by UK charity, the Charities Advisory Trust, to save a royal palace and a historic garden; it now provides employment to those from poor communities. Time Magazine (Asia edition) has even described it as the ‘best place in Asia to improve your karma’. The hotel gives all profits to charities in India.
On weekday mornings guests will knit and crochet, under the pergola in the prize-winning gardens. During the afternoons, and on weekends, guests have the chance to shop and sightsee - there are so many wonderful temples, palaces & wildlife to see. They can also take the opportunity to visit local charitable projects supported by the charity and the Green Hotel.
Knit for Peace distributes hundreds of thousands of knitted items to those in need at home and abroad. They also raise funds to support knitting groups in disadvantaged communities both in the UK and overseas. The price of the holiday includes a donation to the charity. You can find more information by contacting the charity via their website here. the holiday runs from 12th to 26th January and the cost of the trip includes all meals, accommodation and workshops
It has been all about cauliflower in our house these last couple of weeks - and it has been totally yummy!
This week Andy made the one pot Creamy Cauliflower Korma recipe from Happy Foodie. Made on the hob in about half an hour, it really was delicious and will definitely become a favourite!
I made Whole Roasted Cauliflower Katsu a fortnight ago and this was also delicious. The recipe comes from the same 'one pot meal' book by Happy Foodie, but you can find the recipe on line too. The roasted cauliflower recipe involved a lot of prep, but I find peeling and chopping vegetables very relaxing, so I would really recommend it as both a nice experience to prepare and a scrummy meal!
Emma has been very busy preparing videos for our YouTube channel. We now have videos for Sunshine and Showers, parts one, two and three and we also have a new video for joining Magic Circles here.
Emma has created a great technique video for Fields of Gold too, that shows how to work some of the more complex aspects of the design and in particular how to join the motifs as you go. Within the video Emma also shows how to work the two colour crochet method that Lucia used in her Fiori version of the design. You can find the video here.
Do you remember this time last year me showing you some pics from our garden of Andy starting to build a lean-to on the back of our summer house? Well, over the last few months he has been incredibly busy finishing it off and also working on other projects in the garden, so I thought I would share a couple of progress shots so that you can see where we are up to. The lean-to is not quite finished yet, but we are getting there and already enjoy the larger amount of space we have to sit in the sun!
Working on the house has used up quite a lot of our weekend time lately so we decided that this weekend we should take a break from our DIY projects. We have ended up having a bit of a change of plan and so have made a last minute decision to go to a music festival which will take place on some local playing fields pretty close to home. If you are also in North London and looking for something to do over the next 2 days, then why not take a look at the fun line up!
It will be our daughter Summer's first wedding anniversary on Sunday. I can't believe just how fast the time has sped by since she married the lovely Chris. Memories of this time last year when we were getting ready for their big day are really special and it makes me feel so proud looking back on the lovely pics. The image above of Sum, where I am fastening her Great Grandmother's necklace (old and blue) around her neck, is one of my favourites and I am hoping to find some time this weekend to go through all the pics and videos from the wedding.
I found a couple of things online that I thought I would leave you with this week. The first is a link to the Create Academy who are hosting video lessons with Annie Sloan entitled 'How to fill your home with colour', which look really great. The other thing is this fabulous music video from Florence and The Machine that I am addicted to watching.
That's it from me for another couple of weeks. I will be back with a Quick Catch Up in couple of weeks time so I look forward to being back in your inbox then. I hope you have a great weekend wherever you are and whatever you will be doing.
It's a lovely afternoon here in North London. The sun is shining and the garden is calling, so I am looking forward to spending this evening outside, maybe with a glass of something cold and bubbly! I hope that wherever you are things are looking lovely too as we head into the weekend. I am here with a very quick email just to bring you up to speed with all that has been going on here at Janie Crow. We have quite a few kits in stock and I have a couple of new projects to tell you about so I hope you can spare a few minutes to catch up....
Emma has made a great video tutorial for joining my Magic Circles motifs. Making the crochet circles used in this project are easy to make, but the joining can be a little tricky so we thought a clear video might help some of you. You can find the video here.
While I am on the subject of Magic Circles, it reminds me that Victoria at Eden Cottage has put a new kit together for the scarf version, which means that she now has the choice of three lovely colourways. You can find more information by following this link.
We have seen on Instagram that lots of people are making the blanket version of this project using Attic 24's Meadow yarn pack, which you can find on the Wool Warehouse website. You can find the pattern here.
My friends at Mary Maxim have put together a lovely new colourway of my Persian Tiles blanket, which they have called Rose Garden. I collaborate with Mary Maxim in order to bring my designs to the American and Canadian markets and I am really proud of my association with them. For customers in the UK the price of postage on these kits possibly makes them too expensive to afford, but those of you in the US and Canada might be interested to know that there is currently a reduction on the kit price and a standard flat rate postage charge for domestic parcels through until 11th July.
For those of you in the UK - I know it can be frustrating not being able to source alternatives to the yarn used in some of my projects that are available on Mary Maxim, but please do not email us to ask for a yarn shade list for this project as it is not something we can provide you with. We are looking into whether or not we might be able to stock the yarns used in some of the projects that are available on the US and Canadian sites, so please be patient and look out for more information soon.
Emma has filmed the video for Part Three of my Sunshine and Showers blanket. This will go live on our YouTube channel next Friday, so make a note in your diary if you are waiting for it. You can find videos for parts one and two by following this link and you can find more information about the project here.
We have pretty much sold out of the first print run of The Fruit Garden Blanket books. We have had a new print run made, but unfortunately due to the increased costs of paper and printing we have had to up the retail price off the book to £14.95. If you want to grab one of the last copies left at the lower price of £12.95 you can do so by following this link.
If you have been waiting for Fruit Garden yarn packs we are expecting to be able to send out packs for the Love Is Enough and the Parchment and Caramel versions from July 15th - these are available to purchase on a presale basis now.
This week I have been working on a Christmas bunting design, which I will release later on in the year. It has been a bit strange crocheting a festive project when the weather has been so summery, but I have really enjoyed making a stash-busting version using lots of brightly coloured beads and fabulous 'disco' bright colours.
I know that it might be little warm for a 'woolly' crochet project, but we do have good stock levels of some our kits that you might be interested in, especially if you are beginning to plan a project for later on in the year. These include crochet along packs for Lily Pond, Climbing Rose and Sunshine and Showers. We also have good stock of kits for Mexican Diamonds in red, The Blue House and Sussex Gardens and limited stock of quite a few other projects. The easiest way to browse the kits is to follow this link.
Photos from my recent teaching trip to Finland, in particular those of the Korsnäs sweaters, were very popular on Facebook.
This is a traditional sweater from the municipality Korsnäs, close to Vaasa in Ostrobothnia, on the west coast of Finland. The design dates back to the 1870’s. These beautiful garments combine the skills of both knitting and crochet colourwork.
If you'd like to find out more, take a look at the website of the Korsnäs museum by clicking on the image below.
There has been a fascinating series on the BBC called Art That Made Us. Each episode focuses on artworks from periods of history, right back to the Dark Ages up to the 20th century. One of the episodes looks at the Industrial Revolution and includes an interesting commentary on the work of William Morris.
The series is available on BBC iPlayer for over a year so it's well worth catching up on if you have a chance.
Kathryn, creator of the Crafternoon Treats blog, has been indulging an urge to paint by creating colour swatches. We think they are fabulous and you can read all about how she went about it in her blog post from earlier this year by clicking on the image below.
My regular newsletter readers may remember this from a couple of years ago, but as it's coming up to blackberrying season I thought I'd share Gemma's blackberry vinegar recipe with you again. It makes a lovely salad dressing and more traditionally drizzled on Yorkshire Pudding.
"Blackberry vinegar is not difficult to make and only needs three ingredients: blackberries, vinegar and sugar. I like to use a raw organic cider vinegar (such as that produced by Aspalls) but any cider vinegar or wine vinegar will do just as well.
Quantities are not an exact science here but as a rough guide, a pound of blackberries will need about a pint of vinegar. The first step in the process is to put your blackberries in a dish or bowl. I use a pyrex bowl as it won’t be affected by the acidity of the vinegar. Pour on the vinegar to cover the blackberries, cover the bowl, and then leave them for around a week, stirring occasionally. The longer you leave the berries to steep in the vinegar the stronger the final flavour will be but if it's very warm it's worth popping it in the fridge to stop it turning musty.
After the steeping time is up, strain the mixture through a sieve into a jug or bowl so that you end up with just the liquid. Press the berries on the sieve as you strain them so that every last drop of juice and flavour is squeezed out. You will need to measure the liquid you end up with before pouring it into a saucepan and for every pint of liquid you will need a pound of sugar. I prefer to use unrefined sugar, simply because it less processed. Bring the liquid and sugar to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and simmer for around 15 minutes. If you get a scum forming on the top just skim it off using a metal spoon. Once simmered pour into sterilized bottles.
I use the bottles from the vinegar used in the recipe. You just need to remove the little plastic insert in the neck in order to fill them, before popping it back in and putting the lid on. Allow to mature for a few months before starting to enjoy your blackberry vinegar."
Yesterday I met up with a few friends and visited the Fashion and Textile Museum near London Bridge to see the Royal School of Needlework exhibition and specifically the Red Dress project.
We had a lovely time and if you are interested in knowing more you can find out about the exhibition and the Red Dress by following this link. You can find some images from the exhibition on my Instagram page here.
While we sat at a table outside a coffee shop prior to going into the exhibition I spotted this tiny little scene at the side of the pavement. It was the knotted sheet that first drew my eye and it made us laugh when we saw a teeny weeny escapee at the top of the sheet! You can find a piece about similar London street art by following this link.
With thanks to my pal Suraya for taking the image!
We don't have huge plans for the weekend. After all the travelling I have done lately I am happy to just be at home, pottering around. I have a busy week coming up as we will be doing a photo shoot on Monday and I will be away from Thursday next week for a couple of meetings, so I am going to make the most of some downtime with no particular plans.
I hope that whatever you have going on over the next couple of days that you have a great time and that you stay safe and well. I will be back in a fortnight with my July newsletter, so I look forward to meeting you here again in 2 weeks time. Sending yarny hugs.....
The spring and early summer time has been a really busy period for me this year, with three residential workshops happening in a short space of time. This weekend we will be running our final workshop of the season in Bournemouth. I have designed a project based on my Indigo Dreams blanket, so if you look on my Instagram account over the weekend you might find a few sneaky peeks of my new colour way of the project, which will be released in the autumn.
I love workshops, but I have to admit that I am looking forward to next week when I can start to think about some new projects and finally get my designing hat on. I have a few really exciting things in the pipeline that I have had to put on a back burner for the last few months, so it will be really good to be working on something new and I look forward to showing you what I am up to.
Thank you for all the lovely feedback from last week's 'Quick Catch Up' email and for your continued support. It really does mean so much to know you are all out there enjoying my designs. This week's newsletter is a little bit of a repeat performance as I have mentioned quite a few of the things I talked about last week, but hopefully there will still be something that interests you..
Thank you so much to all those of you who have purchased a copy of Julie's Bunting pattern. The project was designed in memory of my sister-in-law, with a percentage of the profit going to Bowel Cancer UK. I am so happy to reveal that we have raised a fabulous total of £393.75 over the last month, which we will donate to the charity within the next couple of days.
Emma has done a new video to accompany Part Two of my Sunshine and Showers Blanket. The second pattern features pretty puff flowers and a textural stitch which is made by working into the back loop of one stitch and then the front loop of the next. You can find Emma's brilliant video by following this link to our Youtube channel.
We still have a good stock level for the following kits, so if you are looking for a new project, do take a look on the website by clicking on the images below:
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.
Last week I received an email from Michele Dillon who has made a garment using my Mystical Lanterns design - isn't it lovely! Marie says:
'In response to your 'what are we up to?' request, I am enclosing pictures of my latest f.o. I call it "Marie Wallin meets Janie Crow." I purchased yarn to make Marie's "Ninian" cardigan, & I knit the back, but thought it looked like a muddy mess. I fell in love with your "Mystical Lanterns" blanket on the Fruity Knitting episode in which you were interviewed. I immediately purchased the pattern, but hadn't gotten around to making it. So instead of knitting "Ninian," I decided to rip out what I had done so far, & try to turn your amazing blanket into a sweater. I am quite pleased with the results. It was a fun brain challenge to figure it all out. I loved working with the your design and I thank you for the instructions of all the partial motifs......I am also enclosing photos of it during a blocking as this gives you an idea of how it all came together'.
It was fantastic to see this fabulous new sculpture unveiled at Waterloo Station this week. Designed by renowned Jamaican artist Basil Watson and delivered with £1 million funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Monument symbolises the courage, commitment and resilience of the thousands of men, women and children who travelled to the UK to start new lives from 1948 to 1971.
I found this lovely account by India Rose Crawford on Instagram and thought it might create a calming moment to lead you into your weekend. I think the little movie showing Frog's morning routine is really cute and you can find lots of lovely images on there too.
As usual we cannot rely on the great British weather to give us a nice sunny weekend, but I hope that whatever you have planned you have great time regardless! As usual - if you want to get in touch and let us know what you are up to do hit reply and let us know what is on your mind. Sending yarny hugs from the seaside...
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.
This week it has been my turn to reveal a crochet project designed for the Stylecraft Blogstars Garden Party Collection. My design is for a pretty beaded bunting, which I have called 'Julie's Bunting' in memory of Andy's amazing sister who lost her courageous battle against bowel cancer in January.
Julie loved a party and was great at organising food, music and a dance floor at the drop of a hat. She liked nothing more than a family get together and a good old boogie! Julie was a big fan of bunting and was great at sorting out the decorations, with fabric and paper flags always taking centre stage!
My bunting features a pretty layered flower at the centre with three little crochet leaves. I have used some delicate pastel shades (including a lovely soft shade of yellow -Julie's favourite colour) from the Stylecraft Naturals - Bamboo + Cotton yarn range and silver beads, which sit at the tip of picots made within the lacy edging. I have used a ribbon threaded through the top edge of the flags to hang them up and you can make 9 pennants from the yarn amounts given in the pattern, which will create a length of approximately 2.6m of bunting.
The pattern is available as a download via Etsy and Ravelry or as a paper version via the website. The pattern is £6.95 and we will donate just over 25% of the sale price (£1.75) to Bowel Cancer UK for every copy sold, whether you choose paper or a download.
I think the bunting would make a really lovely decoration for a wedding reception or a christening if made in the pastel shades I have chosen, but I think it would also look fabulous in some bright, fun shades for a birthday party or to decorate a child's room. The project is a great stash buster too - I hope you like it!
'Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly,
kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and
never regret anything that makes you smile.'
I love my garden and spend a huge amount of time pottering around in it this time of year. I am sure you can tell that I am a big fan of flowers as they feature in almost all of my designs, so when the team from Inside Crochet approached me about designing for their Cottage Garden inspired issue of the magazine I jumped at the chance and created two pretty floral inspired cushions.
My Gertrude cushion features small beaded crochet flowers made into lacy hexagons that are then joined to create the cushion cover. The cushion is named after British horticulturalist, garden designer, craftswoman, artist and photographer Gertrude Jekyll, who created over 400 gardens in the United Kingdom, Europe and the US. The flower motif used in the Gertrude cushion cover can also be used as a brooch or pin design as in the image below.
Once I had created my floral cushion I felt that it needed a partner and so I designed a round cushion with a bobble edge to compliment it and make a lovely set. When I was a child my Auntie Muriel had some of those lovely pleated edge round velvet cushions on her bed. I loved stroking the velvet pile and adored the smocking on them.
I have already attempted to replicate the cushion in knitting, creating my Madeleine cushions in my book 'Homespun Vintage' and so I felt it was time to do a simplified crochet version using bobbles on the edge. My round cushion is called Muriel after my Auntie.
The patterns for the two cushions currently feature in Inside Crochet Magazine issue 147, which is called Cottage Garden.
We will be revisiting my Sunshine and Showers blanket design over the course of this year and into 2023. The CAL was released 5 years ago and features a new stitch for every month of the year, based on typical weather here in the UK. The pattern is available in parts as downloads, but we have never had videos to accompany the design, so my lovely new assistant Emma is in the process of creating some to help anyone who wants to work through the project.
You can find a new introductory video about the CAL on my YouTube Channel, where we have also created a playlist so that each new video can be loaded onto there as it is released. Part One, which features the techniques used in the patterns for May, is available now and the video for Part Two will be on YouTube in a couple of weeks time.
The patterns for each part of the CAL, which are split into 12 pieces, are available for just 95p each with the 'Getting Ready' document available to download for free here. You can find more information about the project by following this link.
Just under a fortnight ago I returned from an amazing trip to Iceland where I was tutoring some workshops with a group of lovely knitters as part of the Arena Travel, Stitchtopia holidays. We had the most amazing time and I have some fabulous memories of the trip, but since I got home I have been struggling to catch up with my workload and also had a couple of technical mishaps which have meant that I only just feel like I am getting up to speed now. Apologies that these things led to me being a little under the radar this last week or so. Hopefully normal service has resumed now and that I will be up to speed for the next couple of weeks before I head off to Finland for my next workshop adventure!
As I said already, the trip to Iceland really was an amazing one. The ladies in the knitting group were great fun and they all bonded beautifully and got on with their projects with gusto. I designed a cushion project for the group, which I am thinking of naming Glorious Bolette after the ship we sailed on. I encouraged them to make changes to the pattern to come up with their own projects.
A few of the group made draw string bags and Melli made a wonderful duffle bag using a little extra yarn that she purchased in Iceland and draw strings made from Scottish rune thong necklaces that she found in Orkney - it even had an Icelandic button!
A few of the ladies made cowls. You can see Trish's one in the image above with a lovely crochet edge. I will be releasing the pattern for the design, which used Rowan Yarn's gorgeous Alpaca Soft DK, later on in the year.
Whilst we were away we managed to find some fabulous yarn stores, including Folklore Yarns in Belfast, which was a total joy to visit. One of the highlights of the trip (in regards to yarn anyway) was a visit to Hespa natural dye studio and the group really loved Garni Gangi in Akureyi too.
A couple of days before I headed off to Iceland I made another appearance on Yarn Lane TV. The show focused on my Fruit Garden blanket and I showed how to make a layered flower and join crochet pieces together. You can find the video of the show by following this link.
So that's quite a lot of news about what is going on for me, but I want to use this opportunity to showcase the work of a friend of mine who makes the most lovely crochet things for babies and toddlers. If you like making things for little ones I urge you to take a look at Gurinder Kaur Hatchard's new book 'Head To Toe Crochet', which is just the cutest thing!
Gurinder is a really talented designer whose work often appears in Inside Crochet Magazine. She works under her company name of Yay For Crochet and I really recommend you take a look at her feed on Instagram too. You can find a link to pre-order this lovely book via Gurinder's website here.
I cannot believe just how quickly the weeks and months are flying by. I feel like I am only just getting into the swing of 2022 and already I am starting to put dates in my diary for next year, something that always feels a little scary as I try not to plan too far ahead. However, there are some things in life that need to be organised well in advance such as trips and holidays, so I suppose it should not be surprising that dates for next year are already booking up.
In very exciting news I have been asked to return to Mysore, India to tutor a workshop for Knit For Peace in January 2023. I have tutored 3 of the workshops at The fabulous Green Hotel on previous occasions and love it there, so I am very excited about the prospect of the trip happening again after what will be a 3 year break. If you would like to join me in India for this amazing trip you can register your interest via the Knit For Peace website, which you can find here.
I have also committed to teach a crochet workshop in France in June next year. Despite this trip being more than a year away, the workshop is already fully booked, but you can find more information about the other workshops on offer and possibly join a waiting list should anyone cancel by following this link.
Having been away for the last couple of weeks I have done very little cooking or baking. It was Summer's birthday on the 17th so I made my first Victoria sponge of the year. British raspberries and strawberries with some fresh whipped cream are one of my favourite things!
As I think I have told you before I always use Mary Berry's Victoria sponge recipe - but add an extra egg to make it even lighter!
We are looking forward to a day in the garden with family tomorrow afternoon, so Andy is planning to make a favourite recipe of ours. It is an upside down Mediterranean style tart, which Jamie Oliver calls a 'Reverse Puff Pastry Pizza'. The recipe features in the book called 'Veg', which we use a lot as a guide for making yummy veggie meals. You can find a video showing the recipe here. Andy uses Feta in place of Mozzarella and it is so good!
The response to our recent fundraising campaign in aid of UNHCR was fantastic, with so many of you purchasing my Fields of Gold blanket design. The motifs that make up the project are put together using the 'join as you go' method so we thought it would be a good idea to create a video that shows you how to do this.
Emma has created a great technique video that shows how to work some of the more complex aspects of the design and in particular how to join the motifs as you go. Within the video Emma also shows how to work the two colour crochet method that Lucia used in her Fiori version of the design. You can find the video here.
Along with almost 200,000 other people in the UK, we took part in The Big Plastic Count last week. The survey aims to analyse just how much plastic waste we are creating within the nations households in order to show the Government that it is time to commit to reducing single use plastic and ban selling our waste to other countries. Andy and I think we are pretty good at seeking out products that are plastic free. We have our milk delivered and do not buy pre-made meals etc, but there are still plenty of items that are almost impossible to source without plastic packaging such as cheese, crisps and vegetable oil and it has shocked me to see just how many bits of plastic we accumulated in a week. Needless to say, we are on a new mission to cut our plastic waste even further as we head into the summer!
Yesterday I took part in a Zoom call with members of the Crochet Guild of Australia. We had a lovely chat and I felt really honoured to have been invited to be interviewed. Thank you to all of you who attended the call. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
The nomination stage of the annual Knit and Crochet Awards is now open. You can nominate your favourite yarn brand, store or designer by following this link to the dedicated Let's Knit website. Of course I would love it if you were able to take the time to nominate me and Janie Crow!
We are heading out to visit the Kehinde Wiley exhibition at The National Gallery this evening and tomorrow I have booked a family trip to our local Go Ape Tree Top Adventure to celebrate my birthday which is on Monday. I am trying really hard not to over think this at the moment as I am terrified of heights, but as I head into my mid 50s I am getting a little braver, so I am hoping I won't bottle it at the last minute, especially when it comes to hurtling down the zip wire!
If you are looking for something to do over the next few days and are in the Edinburgh area you could check out the William Morris 'Art of Wallpaper' exhibition at Dovecote Studios. I would love to see this show, but it is too far for me, so if any of you do go, please let me know what it is like.
Here in London it is the Chelsea Flower Show's last day tomorrow. I have never visited the show and would love to go in the future. I have seen lots of images online and have been hearing about this year's event in interviews on the radio. You can find a great post that shows all the gardens in this year's show by following this link. I particularly like the Morris and Co Garden and the Stitchers Garden, which celebrates Fine Cell Work, a charity teaching prisoners needlework. Visitors will see into the garden through a ‘cell’ – this simple structure is made of steel, with the contemporary woven willow panels replicating the dimensions of their prison space.
A few weeks ago I came across this lovely animated video called Oscars - lost and found. The videos was featured in a COOK email and it tells the story of two crocheted stuffed animals, a fox and a dinosaur, who love and care for each other, living together in a sushi restaurant after hours. In a twist of fate fox is in danger of drowning, so it is up to dinosaur to save the day. In the rescue effort, dinosaur hits a snag and must make a difficult decision to save fox's life. Make sure you have the tissues ready, as this is a real tear jerker! If you are interested in the way the video was made you can find a behind the scenes video here.
Well, that's it from me for another couple of weeks. I look forward to being back in your inbox in a couple of weeks time. Don't forget - if you want to get in touch just hit reply. Have a great weekend wherever you are and whatever you have planned.
Today it is my turn to reveal the project I have designed as my contribution to the Stylecraft Blogstars Garden Party event. My design is for some delicate floral bunting that would make the perfect decoration for a summertime party or family get together. I think it would make a beautiful hand made decoration for a wedding reception or for a child's bedroom too. In fact, with so many shades of yarn to choose from in the Naturals Bamboo + Cotton range, I think it would be easy to find a colour combination to suit pretty much any event you might be celebrating or any room you fancy decorating!
Andy's amazing sister, Julie, was a huge bunting fan. Julie loved life and was the life and soul of any party, enjoying nothing more than a get together and a little boogie! Julie collected patterned papers and fabrics to make her own bunting and she loved organising decorations for any event, with bunting always taking centre stage! We lost Julie in January after an incredibly brave and courageous battle with cancer, so as soon as we started to discuss a garden party theme for a new Blogstars collection I knew immediately that I wanted to design some bunting with Julie in mind. A pretty, floral design that features sparkly silver beads and yarn in her favourite yellow shade was the obvious choice.
I really enjoyed designing and making this bunting with the help of my ace crocheter, Marina, and so I hope you will like it too! A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of this pattern will be donated to Bowel Cancer UK.
The pattern is available as a paper brochure or as a download via Etsy and Ravelry. You can find more information by following this link to the Janie Crow web site.
You can also find more information about the Blogstars collection of designs by following this link to the Stylecraft blog where all the projects that have been released over the last couple of weeks have been featured.
If you follow me on Instagram then you may already know that I had a computer meltdown on Friday so was unable to send out my May newsletter. I am back up to speed with all my technology now, so, all being well, you can expect the newsletter to drop into your inbox this Friday, so do look out for it! I look forward to telling you all my other Janie Crow news then!
Hoping you have great day and thank you for all your amazing support...
'Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly,
kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and
never regret anything that makes you smile.'
We had a fabulous time at Wonderwool last weekend despite having one man down as Andy tested positive for covid. For a moment or two I considered staying home, but then I decided to be all grown up and put my big girl pants on and take myself to the show. I managed to hire a smaller van and cram it full of stock and the wonderful Sarah Hazell and her fabulous husband Paul came down to Wales to help me. I couldn't be more grateful for their help or for all of you who popped by the stand to say hello! We really did have a very special weekend and it was so good to be out in the wild again after such a long break away from shows.
I have been busy getting ready for my Iceland trip with Arena Travel, which heads off next week, but I have a few more things to tell you about today, so I hope you have a little spare time to catch up with my news.
We finally have lots of kits in stock, so if you have been waiting for the yarn for certain designs to be back on the website, take a look at the list below and the links for more information.
We are so pleased to have so many kits back in stock after long absences from the website and hope that there will be something that takes your fancy. We will be revisiting the Sunshine and Showers design from May onwards to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the design featuring in Crochet Now magazine as a year long CAL project. We will be focussing on the design each month from May this year through to April next year and Emma will be doing some technical videos to accompany the design. Patterns are just 95p each or £11.40 for the whole set via Ravelry.
I have created two pretty cushion designs for Inside Crochet Magazine - these will be revealed next week, on May 5th, so do look out for them.
A couple of our Instagram posts produced quite a few interesting tips this week so I thought I would share the links here for you. The first post that produced more chatter than usual was one where I asked whether you preferred to work in production line way when crocheting or whether you tend to make one complete motif at a time. It seems the majority like to work in a production line way, but there were some great tips posted too - take a look here.
In another post I showed some of the pieces I have in my essential crochet kit - such as sewing up needles, beads and my favourite crochet hooks. This post also produced a lot of feedback with many of you naming your favourite accessories - you can find that post here.
If you follow us on Instagram then you may have seen that I officially introduced the lovely Emma to the team this week and mentioned that we will have some new videos on YouTube soon - If you don't already follow us on Instagram it would be great to have you join us!
I am very much looking forward to sitting down with the family for a treat filled celebratory meal tomorrow as it will be Andy's birthday. I have baked the scrummy chocolate cake that I made a couple of weeks ago for a friends birthday and will post a pic on my Lifestyle Instagram page.
Things have been so busy lately that I have really neglected my kitchen and, other than to make the cake for tomorrow, I have spent barely any time cooking. I am not a fan of ready meals, but on weeks like this we do resort to some of our favourite pre-made meals. This week, rather than share a recipe with you, I am going to recommend you tale a look around the COOK website. We are particularly keen on the Nut Loaf (which will easily serve 3 people, if not 4, despite the packaging saying it is for 2) and the Roasted Pepper and Goats Cheese Quiche, which is a great addition to a large family gathering.
I will be appearing on Yarn Lane TV on bank holiday Monday, so I have a little bit of prep to do for this event over the weekend. The show is on at 1pm so I hope you will be able to join me as I chat about my Fruit Garden blanket design.
The weather forecast is looking a tad chilly here for the bank holiday weekend so we might not be out in the garden quite as much as we had hoped, but the house has been mightily neglected lately, so I think we will be giving it a bit of much needed TLC over the next couple of days by having a bit of a spring clean.
We have Summer and Chris coming for the weekend and as I said already we will be celebrating Andy's Birthday, so I am sure it will be a lovely couple of days. I leave you with a pic of this amazing version of Mystical Lanterns made by Anna Wells with yarns from her stash. Isn't it amazing!
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend whatever you have planned and I look forward to popping back into your inbox in a couple of weeks time.
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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!