My new CAL project, Indigo Dreams kicks off next week when the first part will be published in Inside Crochet magazine. I am really looking forward to finally seeing the patterns in print and hope that you will enjoy it if you are planning take part.
The week before we moved out of the studio we received a really big yarn delivery. We took some kits for the CAL to Yarndale and some to The Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally last week, so we only put a few in stock on the website. However, we now have somewhere in the region of 40 kits in stock.
We know that a couple of shades of yarn that I have used in the CAL are already running short with stockists and we have been advised that one shade might not be back in stock until the new year. If you are considering using the same palette as me and therefore sourcing the yarns, either as a pack or separately, I suggest you don't leave it too long.
As with all my crochet along projects to date, Indigo Dreams starts off relatively easy and gets progressively harder as the project grows over the next five months. In the first part you are asked to make some very simple granny squares and some striped pieces. I am really hoping that I might get time to record a quick technique video which I can upload to my YouTube channel next week to coincide with the CAL release, but as we still have a mountain of boxes to wade through here, I am making no promises!
Indigo Dreams will run in Inside Crochet Magazine over five issues between next Thursday October 21st (issue 141) and February. The design for this blanket was inspired by a beautiful Kantha stitched quilt that I found on my travels in India a few years ago, as well as my love of traditional patchwork quilts and tessellations.
The patterns will include the usual step-by-step images and detailed written instructions and charts. This is possibly one of my easiest projects to date, with most motifs based on the traditional granny square motif.
I love working with Inside Crochet Magazine and am incredibly proud of the outcome of this project. The styling of the blanket by Claire Montgomerie and the shots themselves by the fabulous Leanne Jade make me so happy and I hope you are going to love this project as much as I do.
You can find more information and a list of the Stylecraft yarns I have used to make this project by following this link. As I said already, we have stock of kits available on the website now. They are £59.50 plus P&P and include the yarn and a Janie Crow sew in label. Patterns are only available via Inside Crochet Magazine for the duration of the CAL and are not included in the yarn pack. The magazine are offering a six-month subscription offer, which will guarantee that you receive each part of the CAL as it is revealed every month. You can find a great deal (which will save you ££££) for the print magazine by following this link and one for the digital subscription by following this link.
You can also find a wonderful Facebook community, so that you can share your progress and ask questions as you go along, by following this link. The group already has more than 1700 members, so it is bound to be a great resource to accompany the CAL.
My knitting in Iceland tour was cancelled in 2020 and then again this year, so I am really looking forward to the rescheduled holiday in May 2022.
The tour, which is organised by the fabulous team at Arena Travel as part of their Stitchtopia programme of events, is called Natural Wonders of Iceland. It runs between 4th & 12th of May and you can find more information about the trip by following this link.
rcumnavigating Iceland, taking in extraordinary waterways and ports along the way, you’re in for an exhilarating adventure packed with opportunities to marvel at the awe-inspiring natural wonders and dramatic landscapes and of one of the world’s most spectacular countries.
In Reykjavik our included excursion combines some of the highlights of the classic ‘Golden Circle’ with visits to the producers of the famous Álafosslopi yarns.
Our knitting expert, Jane Crowfoot, will offer four full day knitting workshops on board, as well as plenty of opportunities for social knitting as we circumnavigate Iceland. Her workshops will focus on working in the round using both stranded and fairisle knitting techniques and beading. Jane will also show how to create and cut through a steek in your knitting'.
I felt really sad to drive away from our empty studio space a couple of weeks ago after our lease came to an end. I really had hoped that the building would be Janie Crow's forever home, but actually, now we have had a chance to recover a little from the move and the shows that we have been doing over the last fortnight, it feels quite nice to be home for a bit.
As I said in my introduction to this month's newsletter, we have managed to sort out a local office and storage space and I am planning to convert part of the summer house in the garden to become a small studio space for me. Andy built the summer house about 10 years ago and I used it as my design space for a few years before we moved to our bigger premises. I really like the idea of being at home again and am looking forward to sorting it all out over the autumn. Hopefully things will be ship shape by the time we head into next year. If you want to follow my progress while I try to get everything sorted over the next few months, then please check out my Janie Crow Lifestyle feed, which I am hoping to dedicate more time to going forwards...
We have managed to update the stock of quite a lot of our kits after that huge yarn delivery a few weeks ago. We now have kits for Persian Tiles in the Light Blue colour way, Summer Palace Blanket in both original and pink/blue colourways and we have also managed to secure enough yarn to make up my new Red House kits in the fabulous new organic cotton from Stylecraft.
We have also put the lovely wooden shade cards by Veronica of Simply Shade Cards onto the website today. Veronica has already made cards for Attic 24, Emma Varnam and Coastal Crochet projects, so I was really pleased when she approached me about making cards for The Fruit Garden Blanket.
Because the new book uses an alphabetical reference for the shades used in each of the 4 blanket colourways I thought that a shade card that lists shades from A to L would be a really useful tool, so over the last few months I worked with Veronica in order for her to create some fabulous cards that are made from sustainable wood.
Cards with an alphabetical reference can be used for other projects besides The Fruit Garden Blanket and I think they would make a useful tool for the Indigo Dreams CAL too.
I will have a few new things to tell you about in the lead up to the festive season, including a really exciting new collaboration with Lucia of Lucia's Fig Tree and a new pattern release, but this week I thought I would feature the pattern for my Festive Decorations as we have had a little run of sales for these over the last few weeks, which suggests people are already beginning to think about the holidays.
You can find the paper pattern for these great stash busting decorations by following this link to the website, where you will also find links to downloadable copies via Ravelry or Etsy.
You can also find my crochet stocking pattern, which would make great table or tree decorations as they can hold little tree presents such as chocolates for an extra special touch, by following this link. Along with the pattern for the Oonagh knitted cushion covers, which feature lovely sparkly beads, for a real festive feel.
I think it is a little early to talk too much about Crimbo, but crafters need to start planning early and I know that from a personal point of view I always underestimate how long it is going to take me to complete my festive makes....
For my 'out in the wild' project of the week, how about this pic of an absolutely stunning Fruit Garden blanket that was sent to me by Karen Thompson:
Isn't it fabulous? I just love the way it incorporates shades from more than one of my versions of the project and I think that Karen's use of lilac on the border really sets off the whole palette. Just gorgeous!
After a slightly false start, when the books were delayed arriving with us, we have been seeing copies flying off our shelves and I am so pleased to hear that you all seem to love The Fruit Garden Crochet Blanket book as much as I do!
The original patterns for this project remain available as free downloads via the Stylecraft web site, but I have now amalgamated all the motif designs needed to make this stunning heirloom blanket into a book, which also includes crochet charts, testimonials and more background information about my inspiration and design process as well as a brand new colourway of the blanket project, 'Red House'.
When putting the book together I was lucky enough to be granted permission to use images from The William Morris Society, The V&A and The National Museums of Scotland, all of whom have items in their collections by William & May Morris that inspired my design.
I am immensely proud of The Fruit Garden blanket and all that it came to represent over the course of the last 18 months, when so many people used it as a way to help them through difficult times. I have included 8 testimonials in the book from people all over the world who created their own versions of the blanket in 2020.
I hope that this book will act as a great learning tool for crocheters who want to create a blanket of their own and also as a lovely keepsake for those who may have already made one or more of the project colourways.
All versions of the blanket use yarns from the Stylecraft range, including Life DK, Naturals – Bamboo + Cotton and the new Organic Cotton. You can find kits for the new Red House colour way of the project by following this link.
Now that we are home a bit more I am planning to spend some time nurturing our poor little home, which has been horribly neglected over the last 5 years while we had the studio and even more so over the course of lockdown when we were barley here. I don't have huge plans, mainly just ideas for a few bits of painting and updating, but the bit I really love about redecorating is spending time window shopping websites for ideas and lovely things.
I am a big fan of anything that has a link to the Bloomsbury Group and my Bohemian Blooms blanket was inspired by the work of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and their home at Charleston Farmhouse in particular, so I was really taken with these gorgeous hand painted lampshades by Jane McCall of Bloomsbury Revisited.
When looking at lampshades I also stumbled across the work of Naomi Paul who creates crochet pendant lampshades.
These have a very different and contemporary look compared to the Charleston inspired shades, but I love these too, although my bank balance won't stretch quite this far! You can find more information about Naomi Paul's London studio and the ethos behind her company by following this link.
We are a little behind schedule with The Great British Bake Off and so have only just watched biscuit week, which I think was possibly aired about a fortnight ago. Andy is now keen to make brandy snaps as a result, but I am looking forward to catching up with bread week, which is usually my favourite. It will be interesting to see which one of us makes it to the kitchen to bake first - maybe the weekend would be a perfect opportunity?
For us it has been all about cooking fresh, veg heavy, food this week and one of the highlights has been home made pesto - so easy to make and so delicious!
I tend to throw in anything green along with basil, garlic and pine nuts and smoosh it all up in a blender. Added to hot cooked pasta you simply can't go wrong, especially if you add a good glug of olive oil and some salty style cheese. It doesn't even need to be cooked, so it really is about as easy as it comes! Yum...
If you need a recipe - there is a good one here.
Whilst on the look out for decorating ideas, I was thrilled to discover that Annie Sloan has introduced a palette of wall paints to her collection. I am a big fan of her chalk paint already and love her use of colour, so stumbling across this brand new product was really exciting!
I am smitten by the plaster, dusky pink shades, Pointe Silk and Piranesi Pink and hope that I might get to use them when we give our bedroom a bit of a rejig. We have recently invested in a new woollen duvet from Baavet for the really cold months of the winter and I also treated myself to a new duvet cover (possibly the first new one in about a decade!) which features some lovely pinky shades, so I might well use this as the basis for my new colour palette.
Unfortunately I think the painting is quite of a way off time wise, as we have more pressing things to do around the house - like a leaky conservatory roof and an unfinished lean to - but it is nice to formulate the start of a plan!
I would love to hear what your favourite colour combinations are in your home and how you came about choosing them.
We may only just be on the verge of autumn here in the UK, but when it comes to crafting for the festive season it is wise to start planning your projects early, so I am really pleased to say that my Tidings Wrap, which I designed for this year's Jimmy Beans Advent Box is now available to order via their web site.
This will be the sixth annual Craftvent, a holiday-themed Advent calendar and there is something for every type of maker, as Jimmy Beans commissioned both knit and crochet project options and you can choose to work on either a 24 day project or 12 day one.
Designer Ambah O'Brien developed the large knit project called Festive Wrap and I came up with the crochet project, Tidings Wrap, which utilises a unique construction that begins at the centre and works each side outward. Adorable pom-poms are added to the outside using leftover scraps from each day and you can choose from 2 lovely colourways - Ribbon Candy is shown above and the Buttermint version is shown below.
Jimmy Beans' own knit and crochet designer Amy Gunderson created both the smaller knit and crochet projects, called 'Tis The Season Mitts. Gunderson owned a pizza place in Iowa City for seven years, which is also where she first learned to knit in between making pizzas. In addition to being a designer, she is also the Yarn Director at Jimmy Beans Wool.
We are looking forward to our first weekend at home for a while after the madness of the last month or so. We have plans to see some of our family on Saturday and then a home based day on Sunday. I have a feeling Andy is planning to cook a curry - always a highlight, so that will be a treat!
I have been trying to keep up to date with knitting Stephen West's latest mystery Knit Along project Shawlography, so I will definitely be getting my knitting out over the weekend. I am a tiny bit behind on clue one, but hope to catch up over the next week. If you don't know about the project or want to see a few spoilers, then take a look at this link to Stephen's instagram page. I have just made a start on the icord loops!
I leave you with the image above that I found on Insta during the week of a dog worrying about his pal in the washing machine (so funny!) and a link to one of my current favourite Instagram feeds, Origiwools, which features cute animated crochet ducks that always make me smile. This week's post is Bake Off based and I love it!
I hope that wherever you are and whatever you have planned for the next few days that you have a great time. I really love hearing from you and Sarah and I do our best to reply, so if anything in this newsletter has prompted you to get in touch, please hit reply....
Sending lots of yarny hugs
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