I am really excited to let you know that we now have kits for a new version of my Bohemian Blooms Crochet Along Style project. The original pattern is written for yarns from the Rowan range, but as 3 of the shades are now discontinued we decided it was time to give the project a revamp. Our new kits include yarns from the Stylecraft range and we have chosen shades that almost exactly match those used in the original project.
The tension of the new yarn palette crochets up the same as the original, but we decided that the new version would not include beads so that crocheters can see what it looks like without them and have the choice of whether or not they want to add them - not everyone is a fan of bling like me!
We have created a quick video that shows the two versions of the blanket and you can find over on our Instagram feed. We have made a yarn substitution document, which also suggests alternative yarns for the discontinued yarns in the Rowan version should you wish to source yarns from their range. You can find it by following this link.
After a long absence, my crochet techniques book, The Ultimate Crochet Bible, is now back in stock. You can find it by following this link.
Following the success of her last book 'Head to Toe Crochet', my lovely friend Gurinder Kaur Hatchard has created another amazing new book called 'Hooked on Shakespeare'.
With 15 projects featuring more than 30 step-by-step designs inspired by the works of William Shakespeare, this fabulous collection of creations ranges from the iconic Romeo and Juliet to Hamlet and the Ghost, and from the Three Witches from Macbeth to Bottom and Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Not forgetting the one and only Woolliam Shakespeare himself.
Each project features an introduction to the play and its characters, followed by colourful step-by-step instructions. The easy-to-make designs include fully illustrated stitch basics, perfect for beginning crocheters as well as advanced crochet enthusiasts. Why not celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of William Shakespeare’s First Folio, by picking up your crochet hook and creating your very own beloved characters from the plays! You can find the book and more information on Gurinder's Instagram page by following this link.
Over the last few weeks I have been dipping in and out of sampling for the new ‘Marrakesh’ inspired version of my Persian Tiles blanket. I have decided on my palette and have chosen the colour sequences for my crochet octagons.
The yarn for the project has been sent to my lovely test crocheter. It is unlikely that it will be complete before Christmas, but as soon as it is ready we will release a free yarn substitution document to guide you on making it too. If you fancy having a play around with my palette of colours and would like to see my inspiration images, then head over to my blog where you will find a post about it.
CHARITY DONATION As October has been Breast Cancer awareness month we donated 20% of the list price of our patterns sold over a 48 hour period a couple of weeks ago to Cancer Research UK. Thank you to everyone who bought a pattern within that period and helped us raise a donation of £100.
I love projects that use up left overs or small amounts of yarn and I really adore adding beads to crochet stitches, so I am really excited that the pattern for the beaded pouches are available for all you eager crocheters who love stash busting projects and a bit of bling too!
The pattern includes instructions for two versions, which I have called Cafe au Lait (the brown coffee one) and French Linen (the pale flax coloured version). You can choose whether or not to add lots of beads and a pretty additional flower, which I have taken from The Fruit Garden Blanket project and revamped a little.
As I am no good at sewing I have used a ready made cotton zipped pouch from The Clever Baggers (details are in the pattern) as a lining. Working around existing bags is a trick I have been using for workshop projects for the last 5 years or so and it is a great alternative for those of us unable to sew a lining - although you do need to be a tad more careful about achieving the correct tension so that everything fits together. Using a padded lining bag means that your pouch would be perfect for storing precious, more delicate items.
The projects are written for Stylecraft Organic Cotton DK and use Debbie Abrahams knitting beads. Of course you can choose to use exactly the yarns I have used, or pick your own lovely palettes - I am really looking forward to what you come up with. I hope that your crochet pouch will make a great addition to your cherished bag collection just like mine has, whatever you choose to use it for.
You can find the patterns available as downloads on Etsy and Ravelry and as paper copies (UK terms only for this one I'm afraid) by following this link to the Janie Crow store.
Emma had a fabulous idea and revamped my Festive Decorations pattern using a fabulous Halloween inspired palette of yarns. You’ve still got plenty of time to make a few of these as they are such quick little makes and they really will put you in the Halloween spirit!
If you want to REALLY go for the full experience, why not put on a little ghosty podcast? We love 'Uncanny' from Radio 4. (Available wherever you get your podcasts and it should be free). It’s hosted by Danny Robins – he wrote the fantastically spooky play, 2.22 which is touring the UK now and is definitely one for those who like a jump scare! The podcast features normal average people recounting experiences they’ve had that they can’t explain. There’s a good dose of debunking via sceptics as well so it shouldn’t scare you too much!
Emma also has a few suggestions for some light scares from the literary world. The brilliant classic Dracula is of course a slow-burn gothic feast. The recently released film 'A Haunting in Venice' was from the original 'Hallowe’en Party' by Agatha Christie and we’d love to hear whether you think the book was better!
Finally, a great collection of short ghost stories 'Ghost - 100 stories to read with the lights on' chosen by Louise Welsh and featuring probably every famous writer of this genre that you could think of - Ray Bradbury, H.P.Lovecraft, H.G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe to name a few! This is a fantastic anthology and the cover alone would add beautifully to your Halloween décor!
Here at Janie Crow we all love the Mystical Lanterns pelmet/bunting that I first saw at Folklore Yarns in Belfast. It’s a lovely way to interpret the pattern so I have made a new technique video to show you how to add mirrors to the centre of the motifs to add some extra sparkle.
The video is on YouTube now - click here, or on the image above to watch.
(c) William De Morgan Tudor Rose Tile
It’s been fantastic to see so many of you getting along brilliantly with the newest motif from the Spirit of Flora CAL. Huge thanks to all those of you who are sharing your images on social media so that we can see them. Some of the colourways you have created are amazing and I hope that those of you who are working through the project are enjoying the journey! Just 2 more motifs to go!
This Pair of Roses motif was one of the first that I designed. It’s not an easy make, but it’s good to get those little grey cells working hard every now and again, especially when you’re a crochet pro!
I really love this motif and think it manages to reflect the beauty of Evelyn De Morgan’s painting of the Goddess Flora, surrounded by flowers and vines. This motif is the first one within the project that features two flowers at opposite corners. The stems are made first, then the flowers, followed by the leaves and the frame.
As always, enormous thanks to @insidecrochet @clairemontyknits and @leannejadephotography for the beautiful photos taken at the Emery Walker house. A dream photo shoot!
Dawn Thompson recently sent us some lovely pictures of a bag she has made using my Lily Pond design as inspiration. Dawn made it for her granddaughter whose name is Lily, so not only it it lovely to look at, but it is perfectly fitting too!
Do you know that the patterns for 3 of my crochet along projects are free to download via the Stylecraft website? The Lily Pond blanket was a CAL in 2015, followed by Frida’s Flowers in 2016 and The Fruit Garden in 2020.
Being able to access and download the patterns for free means that it costs you nothing except a bit of time and a few balls of stash yarn to have a go at one of my patterns. We often get people commenting that they think my designs might be beyond them in terms of skill, so the free patterns give the perfect opportunity to test out that theory! All the crochet along projects start easy and get progressively harder and will add lots of techniques and tips to your own crochet tool box.
Lucy Chaplin sent in some images of her lovely Mystical Lanterns cowl, which she made using the Highland Heather yarn shades. Isn't it lovely!
Lucy made half motifs along the top of the cowl, which has a triangular shape, with the half motifs folded down inside. You can find other projects made by Lucy on her Facebook page Loop De Loop Studio by following this link.
Crochet retreat alert! Have you heard of Stitchtopia? If not then you may wish to look them up! They create wonderful crafting holidays and retreats for crocheters (and knitters, and quilters and textile lovers of all kinds!) with Arena Travel - a company I have worked with for the last couple of decades!!!
One of their most popular retreats - The Stitchtopia Festival - is back in March 2024 and is a brilliant weekend with access to workshops from 8 different experts - including me! I shall be teaching beaded flowers and also how to achieve the perfect crochet finish.
There are plenty of other workshops to choose from including knitting techniques with Anna Nikipirowicz and quilting and sewing too. It's a lovely weekend and loads of fun. You can follow this link to view the details of the weekend event, which will take place in March next year, and you can also have a look at some of the other workshop trips on offer, including a rather spectacular Knitting Traditions of Peru holiday next year!
I am cutting back on workshops and events next year to make time for more design work. The remaining places on the Peru trip and those on the Stitchtopia weekend are pretty much the only dates I have on offer for next year other than the Festive Workshop I always run with Debbie Abrahams in November.
We love growing vegetables in the garden through the summer and Andy is really good at planning his little vegetable patch. We didn't harvest as much this year as last, thanks to the rain and lack of warmth this summer, but we still did reasonably well with peppers and aubergines and baby tomatoes.
Towards the end of the summer a large vine started to make its way across the vegetable bed and into the grass. At first we thought it was a pumpkin vine and then decided it was courgettes, but as time went on we realised it was a butternut squash vine - something that must have self seeded from seeds placed in the compost bin at some point!
Unfortunately, because we weren't aware we had scrummy squash growing, we picked quite a few of them too early and ate them like courgettes in stir fry! We even gave a couple to an older friend believing them to be marrows because at that point they were covered in green and yellow stripes - who knew that they look like courgettes and then marrow before turning golden yellow?
We now have 2 left and are really looking forward to harvesting them, especially since Emma sent me this amazing looking recipe for a really great roasted butternut squash soup that is accompanied by a fried cheese sandwich - sounds amazing right? I will take pics when I make it and will try to remember to share them here within the next month or so.
If you are looking for a tasty supper we recently tried a macaroni cheese recipe that included sweet potato and it was really delicious! Probably the yummiest mac and cheese I have ever had. You can find a similar recipe by Nigella here.
I am heading off to spend some time with my amazing daughter Summer, who is treating me to an evening pot painting session with a few glasses of bubbly thrown in! It has been ages since we spent any time together, just the two of us, so I am really looking forward to it. I haven't held a paint brush for a very long time, so the outcome of the painting (especially if there is wine involved) might not be a masterpiece, but I am sure it is going to be great fun!
We don't have much else planned for the weekend, except a family lunch here on Sunday. The house is once again in need of a bit of TLC, so I imagine there will be vacuuming and dusting involved - I'm living the dream here in North London! A bit of knitting and crochet will definitely be on the cards, especially with the clocks changing on Saturday which means an extra hour in bed!
Hoping you all stay well and happily hooking until next time!
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