I hope that life is treating you all well and that you are progressing into 2023 in health and happiness. I have been more than a bit foggy brained this week as I recover from the jet lag created by our return from India. I have been so looking forward to starting on some new projects so my lack of concentration has been frustrating. Hopefully next week I will be back to my normal and will finally get going on some new design work. I know I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to travel and I have some amazing memories to make up for the short attention span, so all is good here at Janie Crow!
I have a few things to tell you about this week and hope that you have the time and inclination to catch up with our news...
The team here at Janie Crow have done an incredible job holding the fort while Andy and I have been away in India with Knit For Peace. We have an ongoing issue with Royal Mail in regards to sending things abroad, but on the whole everything has been working tickety boo in our absence, so I am beyond grateful to have such fabulous people supporting me!
Emma and Gemma have been doing a great job on our social media platforms, so do check out what they have been up to on Instagram and Facebook over the last couple of weeks. This week Emma has created some especially lovely posts on Instagram including one about the costumes within Netfilx's Wednesday, which prompted me to dig out the pattern for my Mexican Diamonds scarf and add it to the website as a free download. You can find it by following this link. Emma also shared links to a couple of crochet collars/capelets that I designed a few years ago that are very much in keeping with the Wednesday vibe.
If you are looking for a crochet project kit we now have a good stock of quite a few of my designs, including The Blue House, Climbing Rose Wrap, Frida's Flowers and Primavera, The Fruit Garden Parchment and Caramel, Indigo and Crimson Dreams, Mexican Diamonds, Mystical Lanterns (which is seeing a real boom as the moment), Persian Tiles Eastern Jewels and Light Blue. Click on the images below to find more information about these projects.
You can find patterns for all my designs on the website as paper copies or as downloads via Etsy and Ravelry.
We are looking forward to exhibiting at our first show of the year, the Yorkshire Yarn Festival (more information lower down this email), at the beginning of March and have a few other shows lining up now, so I thought it would be a good time to let you know that we will be taking over the Knit & Crochet Lounge at the Stitch Festival at the Business Design Festival here in London in March. You can find more information by following this link and you can get a discount on tickets by entering the code JCROW23 at checkout. It would be great if you could come along and join us on the stand where we will be making little crochet flowers that you could add to a free Janie Crow key ring!
The lovely Sarah Hazell, who carefully looks after all our pattern queries, has been rekindling her love of stitching in the weeks since Christmas and so I caught up with her this week to find out what she has been up to. Sarah has found a couple of great free workshops being run by TOAST which you can find more information about here and she also had a bit more to say about the pleasure she is beginning to find in stitching again after a bit of a break. Here is what she had to say:
If you are anything like me then you may find January a difficult month to navigate. There is a huge pressure to ‘improve’ ourselves in all sorts of ways. I often think it is entirely the wrong time of year to start changing – the weather is grim and our immune systems are low, and yet this year I have found myself taking on not one, but three stitch challenges!
I have stitched quite a lot in the past, but had lost my mojo. However, I kept coming across beautiful images on Instagram by Karen Turner and her #dailystitchjournal, and thought it was high time I gave myself a little window each day to place a few stitches without the pressure of it having to be something. Karen’s ethos is very much based on selecting whatever thread you feel like using each day and using your intuition to make marks and patterns. It sounds quite daunting, but having a grid to work from really helps. I find that the size and shape of each day on the grid helps me to think about how and what I want to stitch. Some days are more intuitive than others for me but I’m getting there!
If you have ever been to Yarndale, then it is likely that you will have come across the fabulous stitchery of Anne Brooke. Anne is a textile artist and teacher who also alongside other workshops, sets a yearly challenge which this year is #52stitcheshannemade. I want to learn more about how stitches can be altered so decided to join in. Once subscribed you receive a video each week from Anne, demonstrating a stitch and suggesting creative ways to interpret and explore the it. Some people are making a book of stitches, others are working on panels. I am using a piece of furnishing fabric from Ikea that is divided into painterly squares. I am being very strict and limiting myself to a ‘seashore’ palette, otherwise I will get totally overwhelmed!
I was really happy running these two projects side by side until I saw what Suraya Hussain is up to with her friend Tina Francis. If you have not come across their work before, please take a look at their boundless creativity. Suraya and Tina are not only good friends but share a passion for the power of stitch and how it can be used to measure time. Tina spent time in 2022 working on projects in the community that looked at time and memory and Suraya has been working on wraps and blankets to record daily temperatures to raise awareness of climate change. They have now joined together and are encouraging people to join in their ‘Sharing Stitches’ project.
There is a video on Tina’s Instagram page where the two friends discuss past collaborations, stitch, yarn and friendship and a full explanation on how to record your days in stitch. There is an emphasis on using yarn that you already have. I had great fun sorting through my stash and assigning different colours to different temperatures. I don’t think it has to be climate based, but I am finding this not only interesting but a great way to keep me on track. I like the sense of purpose and intention behind this project and the connection it builds between stitchers. I’m still catching up at the moment so it really isn’t too late to join in!
The Getting Started information and the first 2 patterns for my Spirit of Flora Crochet Along were published in Inside Crochet Magazine on January 5th. The next pattern, which I have called Merton Abbey will be featured in the next issue of the magazine which will be available next Thursday 9th February.
There are some beautiful versions of the first few crochet blocks appearing out in the wild and I wanted to share some images with you to spur you on and motivate you. I am particularly pleased to see that so many of you are embracing the stash diving advice and are creating unique projects. Gemma has selected some images from the dedicated Facebook Group, which now has over 3500 members. You can find it and sign up by following this link.
Amy Paoletti's cushion cover - beautiful tones of blue
Liesl Kleu's Moffat Flower - so pretty
Kylie Anderson's blocks - reminding me of Frida's Flowers!
Hilary Lyall's blocks - a lovely vintage feel
Karolyn Smalls - love all the different colourways
Since Christmas I have been working on a new version of the blanket project, which features a more random layout. This new version also has an alternative edging too, which I designed with William De Morgan's more intricate 'Arabesque' border tiles in mind.
I know from the Facebook group that many crocheters are starting to join their motifs together using the blanket layout that Inside Crochet have shared sneaky peek images of within the magazine. However, if you are working through the project it might be an idea to keep an open mind in these early stages as you may decide on your own blanket layout or might even want to make an alternative project such as a bag, a cushion or a shawl, ideas for which will all be featured in up-coming magazine issues.
While searching for some more information about William De Morgan recently I came across the knitwear collection that Loewe designed using the ceramicist as their inspiration in 2019. It really is fabulous! You can take a look here.
This is a quote from the site where you can find more information and images:
'De Morgan’s Persian and medieval-inspired influence on the Loewe De Morgan capsule permeates abundantly throughout – the ready-to-wear women’s, men’s and accessories pieces serve as a fantastical ode to the artisan, and a sartorial tribute to the enduring spirit of the imagination. From the embroidered indigo, cerulean and green peacock pattern that pieces together a trench coat (as though De Morgan himself stitched each thread), and the high drama of a woollen dragon’s tale and horned knitted beanie, to the collection’s quieter moments: floral motifs adorning Loewe’s signature leather Puzzle, Hammock and Gate bags, and neutral knitwear which feature the ceramicist’s iconic dodo silhouette.'
I will be joining Emma on her stand at the Spring Fair trade show on Sunday and Monday at the NEC Birmingham. I am really looking forward to seeing the items from Emma's lovely collection on display and will post some images from the show on Monday so long as all goes to plan.
We have some more items from the collection coming into stock next week, including greetings cards and notepads, so I am really looking forward to showing you these very soon. Don't forget that you can also support your local Emma Ball stockists.
You can check out our YouTube video where Emma and I talk about the collection here and I have also posted our live chat from a few weeks ago on our Instagram Feed.
Andy and I are already looking forward to exhibiting at Yorkshire Yarn Festival in early March. The show organiser, Sophie from Botanical Yarns, has lined up some really fabulous fellow exhibitors and I will feature as the guest at the Saturday evening craft night event where I will be doing a short presentation and Q&A session.
Tickets are still available for the 4th & 5th of March and you can purchase them in advance by following this link. Tickets for workshops are also still available and you can find more information by following this link and clicking on the menu.
If you're looking for a simple recipe that's very quick to prepare, Gemma recommends this Mushroom Stroganoff recipe from the BBC Good Food website.
Gemma doubled up the ingredients to serve more than two. It was great for using up a glut of mushrooms and went down a storm with the family, no leftovers in sight!
I love Friday afternoons with the promise of the weekend on the horizon. For us, Saturdays usually involve a lay-in with a good book and a lazy breakfast of eggs, either fried or poached, toast and lots of lovely coffee as we contemplate what to do with our day off. Tomorrow, however, Andy has an appointment for an MRI scan (for his sore shoulder) at 6.50am! Yes, you read that right! 6.50am!
So this week our Saturday will involve a bit of a rude awakening, but hopefully they will get to the bottom of what is going on with Andy's shoulder and of course, we are incredibly lucky to have our fabulous NHS looking after us. At least we only have to get up early one Saturday whereas the hospital staff are there bright and early week in, week out....
We have been trying to be a bit more healthy since we got back from our trip to India and have been upping the exercise a little, so no doubt the weekend will involve a walk or two and a bit of batch cooking in a bid to stop us from picking between meals!
I am of course hoping to find some time to plonk myself on the settee to crochet as I need to finish my new colourway of Mystical Lanterns and also hope to finish my current book 'Live Life in Crescendo', which I am finding a really good read.
I hope that you have a good weekend and that life treats you kindly whatever you have planned...
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