I have had a bit of a strange start to 2024 and am only just getting up to speed with all that is going on here at Janie Crow. After the loss of our internet connection at home for almost 4 weeks and coming down with a coughing lurgy that I just couldn't shift for about the same amount of time, I am currently running about a month behind with my work schedule. Thankfully this week I seem to have turned a corner and have the bit between my teeth and am finally raring to go! I hope all is good in your world too!
The Marrakesh version of my Persian Tiles blanket will officially launch next Friday on the 9th February. Stylecraft yarn stockists will have all the information about the yarns used in the project if you want to purchase the yarn from them and we will be selling kits too. The yarn substitution document will be a free download on the Janie Crow site from next Friday, so if you already have some yarns in your stash you can refer to it to see what you need and what order to use the shades in.
The kit for the West Yorkshire Spinners version of the original colourway of Persian Tiles has been really well received, but we had a little hiccup with our latest stock delivery as the courier's van (that contained our order) was stolen from the depot! Unfortunately West Yorkshire Spinners are now out of stock of one of the shades used in the kit, so we have taken the kits for this version out of stock until we have the yarn physically here! Please bear with us while we get this sorted.
I am really excited that my new book 'The Complete Crochet Handbook' will be published later on this month. I will be appearing on Stuart Hillard's Birthday show on Sewing Street TV this Sunday to promote some signed, advance copies of the book. The book officially launches on February 29th and we will have them in stock on the Janie Crow website.
There are still a couple of places left on the Arena Travel Stitchtopia weekend in March. I will be teaching some crochet workshops, but there are plenty of other workshop subjects on offer with lots of other tutors, so if you fancy a cheeky weekend away with like-minded crafters, do take a look by following this link.
We were delighted to share the exciting news that our lovely Emma was busy working on a collection of videos to support anyone working on the Persian Tiles project. As we might have mentioned once or twice, this continues to be our most popular pattern and we know that many of you find videos a really useful tool to help you when working through a project. Over on Instagram Emma shared a photo of her workspace in preparation for filming one of the videos and who doesn't dream of a desk like that!
You can find the Persian Tiles playlist over on our YouTube channel here.
Still on the subject of Persian Tiles, the news of the release of our first all natural yarn kit for this project, using beautiful British West Yorkshire Spinners yarns, was well received on both Facebook and Instagram. Given that natural fibres come in at a higher price, we are testing the waters on this front. We know that some people do prefer to work with non-synthetics and the fact that our first stock has now sold out shows there is a demand for alternatives.
A lot of love was shown when we posted about Jane's nomination in not one, but two categories in the Yarn Industry Awards 2023. She is up against some true giants of the yarn world in the 'Best Independent Designer' and 'Best Online Personality' categories. We understand that voting is open for those resident on the UK Mainland only, but you can find all the info on the awards by clicking here or on the image below.
10th January 2024
Towards the end of last year, after completing a sample blanket for the course that I will shortly begin teaching, I decided that I shouldn’t make any more blankets. After all there are only so many blankets you need; One for each bed, a couple for the sofa, one for each armchair and extra to snuggle under on cold winter evenings. After that point, how many becomes too many? I decided to focus on more practical items such as garments and accessories.
So, what happened? How come I’m about to embark on Bohemian Blooms? Well, I’ve had the book sitting on my shelf since I started working with Jane four years ago. Back in November Jane came to the organisation I teach with, Community Learning Partnership, to give a talk on her career and the process she follows to design. Jane brought with her a wide selection of her blankets and having had a close-up look and feel of Bohemian Blooms, I had that niggly little feeling that I was going to have to give it a go at some point in the not-too-distant future. You can read more about the project over on the website here, or click on the image below.
I took the opportunity to request yarn as Christmas presents from my family, and by the beginning of this year had managed to assemble a kit, including a couple of the discontinued Rowan yarns that I had been able to track down.
So, I have the book, the yarn, the hooks that I need and, like any conscientious crocheter should, I’m going to make a start by working up a couple of tension pieces as suggested in the book. I’m going to use the Rowan Baby Merino Silk in Iceberg and a substitute yarn Rowan Alpaca Soft DK in Off White for the tension pieces as both have had an extra ball added to the yarn requirements as such a tiny amount was left over when Jane’s blanket was made up.
23rd January 2024
With my tension squares made (almost spot-on I’m happy to report) I finally got the chance to take the plunge and start work on the first pattern, called Bloomsbury. Four of these long strips will make up the frame for the complete blanket but won’t be joined to other pieces until the end of the project. Jane’s advice to me for these is to do them along the way, work them in parallel with making other motifs. There will be lots of ends as they are a sequence of stripes using four colours, with only two of those colours being carried at the sides. My plan is to make one strip and then move on to the next motif in the book, named ‘Omega’. I'll be back next month to show you my progress.
Gemma's recommended recipe this month is for a Goats Cheese, Red Onion and Thyme Quiche. There's something about a homemade quiche that is so much more satisfying than a shop bought one and goats cheese really seems to mellow in flavour a little when it's cooked, especially when paired with fried onions. Click on the image below to find the recipe on Donal Skehan's website.
It is funny to think that we came into 2024 a little over 4 weeks ago. For me, the new year celebrations seem like an age ago and, if I am honest, I am quite pleased to see the back of January!
As the evenings get progressively brighter and the days a little longer, February always seems a little more positive. It is a joy to see the bulbs coming to life in the garden and the very first signs of spring already happening. Of course, we can get caught out by the great British weather right through to the late spring, but this is the time of year that I always feel optimistic about the year ahead. I have an absolutely stunning amaryllis that has been blooming in the kitchen for the last couple of weeks. It has managed to produce five incredible flowers from one stem and it makes me stop in my tracks every time walk past it. Isn't it a beauty!
I have a weekend of pottering planned. The house in much need of a good clean - the brighter weather is showing up quite a lot of dust around the place, so I can't really ignore it any longer! I have been doing quite a lot of walking recently, so will probably head out tomorrow afternoon for a couple of hours, so long as the weather stays dry.
I cleaned out my studio over Christmas and discovered just how many part started crochet and knit projects I have on the go, so I am also planning to spend a bit of time working on a couple of those. Sunday I will be travelling up to Sewing Street TV HQ to do the book promotion, so if you are around between about 11.30am and 1pm perhaps you might fancy tuning in?
Sending big yarny hugs!
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