It has been a strange month after the weirdest of Christmases, but we are glad to have been able to carry on working at the studio, although on reduced hours so that we are not all here at the same time and can observe social distancing guidelines properly. It has been pretty tough at times but, of course, the best bit of news has to be that the vaccination programme really seems to be gathering speed. We are incredibly grateful that more and more people have had their first jabs, including our parents, so let’s hope that things remain positive as we head further into 2021.
As we near the end of the month I wonder how you are getting on with any resolutions that you might have set at the start of the year. I always write myself a hopeful list at the beginning of January and set myself some targets for things I want to achieve. Dealing with lockdown has obviously had an effect on what we can and can’t do and I have found that I currently have a really short attention span. Thankfully I have discovered that making a daily list helps me feel like I am achieving something, even if it is an aim as simple as going for a walk!
If you would like to read the piece I have written about my resolutions and the projects that I think would make great stash busters for those of you who might be struggling to concentrate like me then you can head over to my blog by following this link.
I am so pleased to let you know that we have published the pattern for my Indian Roses Blanket this week. The design was inspired by a vintage washstand that sits in the reception area of the Green Hotel in Mysore, India. The stand features porcelain tiles that have pink roses at the centre surrounded by teal and green surface detail.
The pattern for the blanket was previously only been available within a yarn kit, but the rights to the stand-alone pattern have now reverted to me so Sarah and I have updated the pattern and our lovely graphic designer, Steph, has made a great job of laying it out in the Janie Crow style.
The pattern is available as a 12 page paper brochure or as a download copy. The pattern features step-by-step images and written instructions for the 3 motifs needed to make the blanket but please note that the pattern is written in UK and not US terms and that it does not include crochet charts.
The yarn listing in the pattern is for the original version, which was worked using West Yorkshire Spinners DK weight yarns. Some of these yarns have now been discontinued, but you will find three download yarn substitution documents for some alternative versions. Two of these new colourways use ColourLab DK yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners. I have named these ‘Aqua’ and ‘Natural’ and the third version shows a listing for Stylecraft Life DK in very similar shades to the original project. The download substitution documents are all available for free by following this link. You will need the yarn sub documents plus the original pattern to complete the project.
I have worked crochet motifs for all three of the new colourways and used the original yarn listing to estimate yarn usage for the alternative versions. Because of the process used to estimate yarn usage and given the fact that we have not remade any full-size blankets in the new colourways please allow for a little leeway on yarn use. In the yarn substitution documents I have marked the yarn shades that may be tight on usage.
I think the design would make a great stash buster as you can use any DK weight yarn you happen to have at home. I had great fun playing around with the colour sequence when I was working on the new samples and I think it would look great worked in a more random way – a little like my Mystical Lanterns design or Lucia’s Eastern Jewels version of my Persian Tiles design.
You can find the paper pattern for sale here and the download version via Ravelry here and Etsy here. You can access the free download yarn substitution documents by following this link.
This time last year we were lucky enough to be in India where I was the tutor on a workshop trip with Knit For Peace at The Green Hotel. Over the last few weeks Andy and I have been reminiscing by looking back over the images we took on our trip and we know we were incredibly lucky to have been away this time last year, especially in light at what the last 10 months have had in store. Many charities have struggled to fundraise over the last year and money has been tight for many, but the team at Knit For Peace have soldiered on and have managed to send out sacks and sacks of knitted and crocheted items to destinations where they are needed. They are currently asking for blankets, hats, gloves and mittens to help people keep warm in the cold weather and you can find out what else they need, and perhaps sponsor a sack of items to help it reach it’s destination, by following this link.
We registered the Janie Crow company in 2011, the year I released my first crochet along project, so 2021 will be Janie Crow’s 10th Birthday. We have started to form some plans as to how we can celebrate our first decade and we hope that by the autumn we will be able to hold some workshops and gatherings and that we will be able to see some of you ‘in the flesh’ again. Over the last couple of months I have been working on a CAL blanket project that will be published in Inside Crochet magazine over the summer months and I am also planning to start work on the design for a new crochet along project that will be released towards the end of the year. I am not sure exactly what form this project will take yet, but I am currently planning to call it ‘Jubilee’ or ‘Decadence’ as a nod to our 10th Birthday. Look out for more information on the new projects and our celebratory plans soon.
I can never have enough project bags and I am always on the look out for little pouches that suit my needs, so I was really excited when Heather Burgess of Rag Button Designs agreed to collaborate with me to make these lovely items. Heather sources beautiful quality Irish linen to make these gorgeous pouches, which she puts together by hand and then stitches into the fabric, adding buttons, beads, ribbons and some of my hand made crochet flowers to make each one uniquely beautiful.
Our last batch of hook wraps and pouches sold out within 2 days of being put live on the web site so I am really pleased that Heather has been hard at work making some new items. We now have pouches and hook wraps back in stock.
The pouches come in a choice of fabric shades and Heather has introduced duck egg blue and salmon pink fabrics to the range this time. The small pouches feature crochet flowers (made by me) in a few shades. The large pouches feature the outline of the Janie Crow birds in machine stitching and hand stitched detail. These also have an additional inside pocket. Each pouch is lined, has a smooth zip closure and includes a metal ring on the outside seam.
The hook wraps feature intricately hand stitched embroidery as well as some machine stitching and are fastened with a ribbon tie. The wraps will hold up to 15 hooks and we have also included some larger pockets for hooks with big handles or to hold some scissors or other accessories. The wraps come in a protective cotton bag within a sturdy cardboard box, so make the ideal gift for any serious crafter. Hook wraps are made from woven wool fabric and are lined with cotton fabric with a vibrant floral design.
Because of the handmade nature of the pouches and hook wraps we do not have a large stock holding so if you want to nab one, either as a present for a friend, or a gift to yourself you might need to be quick!
As we have all been spending so much more of our leisure time than usual at home it is hardly surprising that interior trends have started to reflect the need for comfort. Minimalism (something I have never been any good at) is on it's way out. 'Comfy' is way in! You can check out Vogue Magazine's take on the new trend by following this link.
Italy is a leading producer of yarns and fabrics and the country is world renowned for it's innovative approach to manufacturing techniques. The city of Prato, which sits to the North West of Florence, has built it's fortune on recycling used clothes. The textile companies in Prato have been recycling wool and other fabrics for decades, not just as a response to the recent rise in awareness about recycling and fast fashion.
Gemma recently found this interesting video via the BBC web site.
I love adding little GIFs to texts and to stories on my Instagram feed. I especially love the little knitted elves that knit hearts and send them off into the sky like little cloud kisses....
If you have no idea what I am talking about, or if you love them like I do and want to find out about the process of making tiny knitted items to use in animation, check out this video via Mochimochi Land.
We have a Riverford vegetable delivery every couple of weeks and I love unpacking the fresh seasonal veg and working out what we are going to make with it. Last week Riverford sent a link to their YouTube Channel and specifically the video tutorial for making Carrot Flapjacks. I love carrots, oats and cheese so as these are pretty much the only ingredients I knew I was going to love these!
I made these scrummy flapjacks from the free recipe last weekend. They were so quick and easy to bake and would make the perfect alternative to savoury snacks or a slice of cake, although we did scoff the lot in the space of 24 hours so possibly not so healthy after all!
We are looking forward to the weekend despite the rubbish weather forecast. Our weekends all have a similar theme these days, so a couple of walks and some baking are on the cards as usual.
Charlie has almost completed Veganuary and dry January too, so I am really proud of him for sticking to his promise to cut out so many things from his diet. For the last few years Charlie has really struggled with allergies. We always thought these were dust and pollen related but the restrictions on what he has eaten have made it clear that he is probably allergic to cow’s milk as his symptoms have pretty much disappeared, so that is an incredibly positive outcome to his self-enforced abstinence!
‘Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants’ - American food writer Michael Pollen.
This week saw the release of the yarn substitution document for Part 7 of the 'Love is Enough' version of the Fruit Garden CAL. I cannot believe we are now just 2 weeks away from the end of the re-run of the project. I hope that those of you who have been working through the blanket design have enjoyed your crochet journeys and that you might find time over the weekend to catch up with your yarny projects. I am definitely hoping to find some time for a bit of hooky!
I hope that wherever you are and whatever your plans that you have a great weekend and that you keep safe.
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