The clocks have changed and the weather is decidedly autumnal here in North London, so we have been making the most of any bright weather and getting out for some local walks. The fields and countryside around us are still looking really beautiful as not too many leaves have dropped yet, but it is getting pretty cold in the evenings, so it has been good to snuggle up with my crochet and knitting projects on the settee in the evenings!
This week I have something REALLY exciting to tell you about as I am finally able to reveal the outcome of my most recent collaboration with the wonderful Lucia Dunn of Lucia's Fig Tree AND I am also able to showcase my beaded crochet Christmas decorations, which featured in Inside Crochet Magazine this time last year, as the pattern has now reverted to me.
If those two things are not enough to make you want to read on for more information, then hopefully something else within this email will catch your eye!
I love seeing my designs worked in alternative colourways and so when Lucia Dunn of Lucia's Fig Tree asked for permission to recolour my Persian Tiles blanket to create her amazing Eastern Jewels version a few years ago I was really pleased. A few years later Lucia worked her magic to create a version of my Frida's Flowers design too, so I was really excited when we caught up in the spring and she told me that she wanted to make her own version of my Fields of Gold blanket.
Lucia is the queen of recolouring - you may have seen her fabulous version of Tinna's gorgeous Amma CAL - and so I adore this new brightly coloured version of my blanket, which Lucia has come up with. It is just so gorgeous!
Lucia has named her version of the blanket Fiori and, to make this collaboration even more exciting, she has very kindly included the Janie Crow logo alongside hers on the balls of gorgeous Fohen DK yarn which make up the yarn packs for this project. Fohen and Fohen Tweed yarns are a really gorgeous soft and bouncy DK weight, which is a merino wool rich mixture in fabulously vibrant shades.
We have been waiting very patiently for the yarn to make its way over from Italy over the last couple of months and we spent last week making up the kits for this project, so I am really excited to finally be able to give you the link to nab one of these limited edition kits.
The yarn packs contain 31 x 50g balls of exclusive yarn, a sew in Janie Crow label, the original pattern for the Fields of Gold Blanket and a printed yarn sub brochure for Lucia's Fiori colourway. All our yarn kits have been packed re-using the original plastic bag packaging from the yarn supplier rather than new bags.
You can find more information about the project by following this link.
Please note that the Fiori colourway is only available as a kit and that the yarn substitution document is not accessible separately. We have a limited number of these kits available. Our order came in a little short, so we will have a few more kits towards the end of the month/early December, but it is pretty much a case of when they are gone they are gone!
You can find a lovely introductory video that Lucia has made about this blanket collaboration by following this link.
From Thursday 7th through to Sunday 10th October we were showing our wares at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. Our stand was in the Textile Gallery. There were fewer stands than usual to allow for more social distancing between everyone, but there was a great turn out and kits pretty much sold out, along with needles and hooks, which were flying off the shelves!
There were times when it was very busy on the stand and (aside from the very annoying difficulties with wifi and the card machine connection) it was great to see so many of you out and enjoying the show.
With his 'Just Knots' hat on, Andy has taken a stand at the Harrogate Knitting & Stitching Show in a couple of weeks time (18th to 21st November). He will have knitting needles, crochet hooks and lots of other accessories. He will also have a lot of reduced yarn - so do pop over to see him and say hello if you are going to the show.
A couple of Mondays ago (24th October) I was the featured designer on shopping channel Yarn Lane TV. I had such a great time chatting all things crochet with presenter Rebecca Reid. We focussed on my Persian Tiles & Summer Palace blankets and also had a quick chat about The Fruit Garden Crochet Blanket Book. During the hour long show I did a couple of little crochet demos, so there might well be something that interests you. You can find the video by following this link. If you want to check out more demo videos on the Janie Crow YouTube channel you can find it here.
It has been fabulous to start seeing your Indigo Dreams blankets taking shape. With part two of the pattern on the horizon I realised I hadn't managed to write a blog post about how to prepare for the CAL - in particular how to achieve the correct tension, so I managed to get one posted this week. You can find it by following this link.
I can never quite get over the ongoing appeal of my Persian Tiles blanket, which continues to be my biggest selling design, but I love to see the various colourways that people put together. This week I discovered two new versions made by the team at Yarnplaza. They have named these colourways Lavender Fields and Christmas and you can find more information by following this link.
After our move from the studio at the beginning of last month we are still trying to get ourselves sorted out. There are lots of boxes left to unpack at home, but Andy has been very busy sorting out the office and storage space that we have found locally. It was quite a shock to see just how much stuff we had accumulated over the 5 years we were at the studio!
he pattern for my beaded Christmas decorations, which also features a beaded crochet masterclass, are new to the website this week. The pattern originally featured in Inside Crochet magazine this time last year, but it is now available as a 16 page paper brochure in both UK & US terms or as a download version via Ravelry or Etsy.
The decorations were inspired by Russian Folk crafts and, as they use very small amounts of yarn, they are the perfect stash buster. I think they would look great hung on the tree or threaded together to make bunting. Or maybe even a festive themed corsage? You can find more information by following this link.
Images with thanks to Leanne Jade and Inside Crochet magazine.
We also have patterns for my Festive Decorations, shown below. These are proving really popular at the moment as they are another great stash busting project. I think they would look great made in purple, red and gold shades, but I love the frosty feel of the grey and cream I used in the original designs. Perhaps adding some light blue shades and silver lurex would make them look really sparkly and snowy?
You can find the paper pattern for these decorations by following this link to the website, where you will also find links to downloadable copies via Ravelry or Etsy.
You can 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 am looking forward to seeing your festive makes on social media. Please share any projects using #janiecrow on Instagram so that I can see what you have been making!
There wasn't a huge amount of sun to ripen the tomatoes in the garden this year so when it became clear that green was the colour they were staying, Gemma decided that tomato chutney was on the cards!
Unlike many other chutney recipes this one from Lovely Greens doesn't use cooking apples and so Gemma says it was easy to knock up on the spur of the moment with ingredients already in stock. Delicious with cheese and biscuits!
We realised it had been a while since we had a 'show and tell' on Facebook, so we asked you to show us what you have been working on, whether that be the new Indigo Dreams crochet along, another Janie Crow project or something different entirely! You showed us your beautiful work, from Climbing Rose Wraps to Persian Tile blankets and much much more. Here are some of the highlights:
Sharon Marks showed us her recently completed Persian Tiles, in her own colourway:
Tracy Hellam has been crafting with string as yarn and wool aren't easy to get hold of in Central Zambia!
We love the tassels on Purdy Garcia's Primavera version of Frida's Flowers. They work so well on the points of the hexagons:
Ellen Preston is getting in the mood for Christmas with her very lovely Percy Poinsettia, a Lalylala design.
Eliza Dee Dee has been making the Summer Palace blanket in her own colourway, even using yarn bought by her mother in the 1960s to knit her a cardigan with! Impressive stashbusting:
Thank you to everyone who shared photos - we love seeing your makes :-)
The first part of the Indigo Dreams crochet along was published and many of you got straight to work! The dedicated Facebook group for the Crochet along has been going from strength to strength with over 2,200 members now. There has been much discussion about the difficulties some of you are having with the tension of the chambray squares but there has been great support from both the group moderators and other members alike. On the subject of gauge the brilliant 'Golden Loop' video from Esther of 'It's All in a Nutshell' is well worth a watch, especially if you are struggling to get the correct tension on UK treble (US double) crochet - are you a yanker, rider or lifter?
Don't forget that you can take a look at my tension themed blog post here.
Here at Janie Crow we are avid recyclers and so it was good to see in the news that in Co-Op supermarkets around the country it is now possible to recycle a much wider range of plastic packaging such as pet food pouches, crisp packets, bubble wrap, cling film and much more.
Other supermarkets have been running schemes to recycle such items for a while now. On the RecycleNow website you can enter your postcode or town to find a store near you that collects these items.
That said, there has been a lot of talk recently about how many big companies, especially large supermarket brands, are using 'green washing' tactics to make consumers think that their ethics are far greener than they actually are. Whilst any effort to cut down plastic use and free recycling schemes are good news, what we need to see is far less use of plastic packaging in the first place and more conscious decisions about the origin of the ingredients in our food.
A good place to start is by being aware of where the palm oil in our food is sourced. Palm oil is used in so many foods these days and much of it is from unsustainable sources. Making a habit of looking at the ingredients in our food is a great way to tackle 'greenwashing' so look out for products that say the palm oil is from a sustainable sourse - if it doesn't say it's sustainable then it probably isn't!
You can find more information about global brands and their use of palm oil (and why unsustainable palm oil is bad news) via the WWF web site here or by clicking on the image below:
This week I came across this handy little food calculator via the BBC which can give you an idea of the carbon footprint of foods you most regularly eat. For us the big surprise was chocolate, so we are going to be more careful about which brands we buy in the future. We do love a bit of choccy here at Janie Crow, but perhaps we should cut down a little too?
As we move into the colder months of the year here in the UK it's probably true to say that many of us will be spending more time crafting during the dark evenings. Hours of crocheting can take its toll on our hands, arms and shoulders, so we thought this blog post from Inside Crochet magazine would give us all a good reminder of the importance of taking breaks from time to time, as well as doing exercises to prevent repetitive strain injuries. The thought of not being able to crochet is not one we like to contemplate!
After the madness of September, with the move and then the shows in early October, it was almost inevitable that we would get poorly. I went down with a sniffle (not covid) on the day after Ally Pally and it has taken me a good few weeks to feel back to normal. Andy has started with a cold this week too, so it has been a month of not feeling quite up to speed for us. We have been making sure we get plenty of fresh air, sunshine and vitamin C in the hope that we will now have a lurgy free winter, so we are hoping for some bright weather over the weekend so we can get out and about.
I am planning to attend the COP26 march in London tomorrow. If you would like to join an event, but you're not sure if you have a local demonstration, you can find a list of worldwide events by following this link.
I have quite a few projects to work on in preparation for some forthcoming workshop weekends, so over the weekend I will be keen to set up camp on the settee in the evenings to get on with those. We have been adding lots of programmes to our watch list on the TV, so hopefully we can indulge in a few good movies too!
Unfortunately my Stephen West MKAL project has had to take a bit of a back seat and I am still only on clue 2, but it has been great to see finished projects out in the wild. I am still working on my Stylecraft ReCreate tank top though and hope to have that finished very soon. If you are looking for a fabulous knitting project to see you though the next month or so, then I can really recommend you take a look at Julia Marsh's Wee Houses design, which will be the Stylecraft make along project this month.
I think that the scarf or cowl would make a great festive gift. You can find lovely shots of the projects on Julia's Hand Knitted Things instagram feed and the MAL Facebook group here.
The season of family festivities, bright lights, shimmering candles and good food is officially here! Happy Diwali to those of you celebrating this week. May your lives be filled with new hopes for the future and new dreams for tomorrow. Joy, light and love....
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