As usual it has been a busy couple of weeks here at Janie Crow. I have been working on the new techniques book alongside Sarah who is making many of the crochet samples. I have embraced the challenge of writing step-by-step instructions for stitch formations I haven't met before and have enjoyed sampling some of the pieces, especially the more decorative crochet samples, such as beaded edgings and crochet flowers. Next week I will be moving on to write the chapter about Finishing Techniques (one of my favourite things to do in crochet) so I am looking forward to that.
I have been putting the finishing touches to a shawl design for the Spirit of Flora crochet along, which continues to run in Inside Crochet Magazine. I have also been finalising a few workshops projects, so all in all, a pretty busy time, especially as the plants in the garden are now going full throttle and need our daily attention. What a joy it is to be back out in the garden again! The prospect of peonies blooming in abundance is making me particularly happy!
I hope that whatever you have been up to and no matter what you have planned for the next couple of days as we head into yet another Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, you can find a bit of time to catch up with all things Janie Crow.
Thank you for the amazing response to Fiori. We have kits back in stock alongside some for Fruit Garden Love Is Enough and Parchment and Caramel.
We have kits for The Blue House, Primavera and Sandalwood as well as the Summer Palace Original colourway, which is in stock for the first time in almost a year!
The process of publishing crochet patterns is a long-winded affair. It involves creating a design in the first place, copious hand written notes, word documents, test crocheters and Tech Editors. In the final stages it also involves translators, photographers, stylists and graphic designers. Creating a pattern can take months from start to finish and the work can pass through many hands before a final document heads off to the printer and a download version gets posted.
Whilst I pride myself on the quality of my patterns, every now and again little things get missed. A case in point is my Indigo Dreams design, which was inspired by a kantha stitched quilt I found in India a few years ago. Whilst the original pattern instructions should not hinder the process of crocheting this beautiful blanket in any big way, we realised there were places where the charts had incorrect keys and an asterisk or two needed moving. On the US version there was also a round where the instructions had been left in UK terms, so we have spent the last few weeks meticulously checking through the pattern.
We have uploaded a revised copy on Ravelry and will ensure that all future print runs of the pattern are of the revised copy. Unfortunately we cannot replace existing purchases, but if you have a pattern and want to see where we have made changes, head over to the web site to access a downloadable errata document. We totally understand how frustrating these small blips in a pattern can be and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
The Crochet Guild of Australia will celebrate their National Crochet Conference in just over a week. My great friend Dedri Uys of Look at What I Made will be at the show and I am disappointed not to have made it too - unfortunately the logistics of such a big trip did not work out for me this year, but hopefully I will get to go another time.
I am really pleased that despite me not being able to attend the conference this year my best selling design, Persian Tiles will be making its debut as a kit using an Australian brand of yarn. The exclusive kits, which also feature some other Janie Crow and Emma Ball merchandise, will be on sale at the show and there are also some in stock on a pre-sale basis on The Stitchy Witches website.
I am incredibly grateful to Patty and Mercury at Stitchy Witches who have worked really hard to create these lovely exclusive kits which also include a limited edition tote bag and a signed postcard. There are just 7 kits left in stock online, so if you are in Australia and fancy treating yourself to a kit do take a look.
I love seeing images of your projects out in the wild and always enjoy it when you have created your own colouways of my designs. The Eastern Jewels version of my Persian Tiles blanket, which was created by Lucia Dunn a few years ago continues to inspire many of you to create versions of this blanket using lots of lovely colours. Rosie Coles recently sent me the image above of her lovely interpretation which uses Semilla GOTS certified wool. I am sure that it is lovely, warm and luxurious made in a fabulous natural fibre.
Some of you may already know that as well as working for Janie Crow, Sarah writes regular columns for Knitting Magazine. She hosts their Yarn Reviews, Top Tips and 'Ask Sarah' column. More recently she has started to write features as well and this month sees her discussing how craft is being used to raise awareness of climate change as well as combat the stress of this massive subject.
Sarah is using a stitch project to record the highest and lowest temperatures in Birmingham on a daily basis. This prompted her to look at how other crafts have been recording this kind of data. The feature describes how and why crafters are recording data and the impact this is having on its audiences. She has been amazed by the creativity and community that has evolved globally.
The effects of climate change can feel overwhelming at times and leave us feeling helpless by the enormity of it all. Sarah goes on to suggest that craft can be used to help keep our focus on the here and now rather than racing too far ahead, as well as outlining ways to start your own project.
Knitting Magazine Issue 243 is now on sale. You can find download copies here.
As a thank you for your continued support over on Instagram, which has recently led us to reach the 100k followers mark, I am excited to reveal the free download pattern that followers can access for the course of this weekend.
The pattern for a Beaded Crochet Pouch is live now. You can follow the link in bio from our Instagram page to download the pattern. Please note that the pattern is only available via Instagram, so if you are not a follower already you will need to head over there and sign up. The pattern will only be there for the duration of this weekend and the Bank Holiday Monday, so make sure you download and save it as it will not be available from Monday evening onwards.
The project uses Stylecraft Organic Cotton DK in 5 shades and beads in 4 shades, but you can use as many or as few as you fancy, especially as it is a great stash buster. Instructions for placing beads into stitches are included in the pattern, but if you want some visual guidance on how to work beaded crochet check out the videos on our YouTube channel.
Please share our Instagram post to your friends and followers so that they also get the chance to get their hands on this free pattern and don't forget - it will disappear in a plume of smoke and turn into a pumpkin like Cinderella’s coach at Midnight (UK time) on Monday. Happy Bank Holiday everyone!
The latest issue (number 158) of Inside Crochet Magazine was released yesterday and in perfect keeping with the Chelsea Flower Show happening this week, and in a move that was definitely, absolutely, planned and not in any way a fabulous coincidence, the name of the new block for the Spirit of Flora CAL is called Chelsea!
William De Morgan was enthralled by Persian design and spent a long period of his creative life making tiles that echoed an ‘Arabesque’ style. When designing this motif, I wanted to try and capture a similar feeling by using the blue and cream shades on the border.
Of course that doesn’t mean I’m suggesting you have use those colours for your block as I’m excited to see how Chelsea looks in the incredible colours we are seeing you use for your own projects.There are some absolutely wonderful projects taking shape so do have a look at the #spiritofflora hashtag on Instagram – as always there is so much inspiration to be found there.
Big thanks to Inside Crochet Magazine, Leanne Dixon photography and Claire Montgomerie for the gorgeous photographs.
It has been a while since we had a show & tell on our Facebook page so, hoping that a lovely sunny weekend had inspired some serious crafting recently, we asked what you had on your hooks or needles. You can see some of the wonderful projects below, beginning with Susan Johnson's Fields of Gold looking absolutely resplendent in the photo.
Next up is Julia Hill's Crimson Dreams blanket, made from yarns she already had. We're thinking Julia must have quite an impressive stash!
Henny Fiserova has started work on Persian Tiles in blue, but has been advised by her doctor to rest her hand for at least a couple of weeks. Wishing you a speedy return to your crochet, Henny.
Finally, Denise Meldrum has only been crocheting for a couple of months but she is almost halfway through the Mystical Lanterns pattern. Lovely work, Denise.
Many more of you shared images of your beautiful work - too many for us to show here, but thank you to everyone who contributed a photo. We do love seeing your work, especially the ways you use colour to really individualise your projects and it's also great to hear that some of you are making up your own kits from your stash yarn.
This week Gemma's recipe recommendation is this one for Harissa Cauliflower Pilaf which contains a lovely combination of fruit, nuts and spice, together with delicious roasted cauliflower.
It looks like a really interesting combination of flavours and textures. Click on the image above to find the recipe over on the BBC Good Food website.
We love reading about younger people taking up crafting, after all how many of us wish we had started so much earlier? We came across this article about Miah Henley, from Rayleigh in Essex, who learnt to crochet at the age of 10, before setting up her own business selling her crochet makes through a Facebook page in 2020. This led to her being nominated and subsequently winning the Entrepreneur of the Year award at her district council's business awards. You can see some of Miah's makes in the image below and find her Facebook page here.
Image copyright Miah Henley
A couple of weeks ago the coronation of King Charles lll took place at Westminster Abbey and to coincide with this event yarn bombers around the country did themselves proud with an amazing array of post box toppers and other coronation themed yarn offerings! We were particularly impressed with the 37 post box toppers made by The Secret Society of Hertford Crafters, especially with the first topper (shown below) into which they have incorporated yarny versions of some of their own members!
The village of Holmes Chapel in Cheshire became home to a giant knitted King Charles, complete with gardening supplies should he get bored!
Last weekend Andy and I joined a group of friends to complete the Big Fun Walk to help raise funds for The North London Hospice - a charity very close to our hearts as they cared so incredibly for Andy's sister Julie before she passed away last year.
The route of the 8.5 mile walk took us through many of London's wonderful parks and we walked past lots of landmarks on the way, including Buckingham Palace and we felt really proud to be presented with our medals at the end - even the dogs, Luna and Willow got one!
As the evenings are getting longer and I have a little more spare time, I have been trying to get to the gym or go for a walk most days this week. It always surprises me just how therapeutic walking is and how often I find have sorted out lots of problems in my head while walking. It could be that a crochet pattern that has been perplexing me suddenly falls into place, or that I manage to sort out the logistics of some plans, or maybe it just makes me feel calmer and more at peace.
The Peonies in the garden are almost in bloom
Tomorrow I am planning to take a trip into town to see what is going on in the shops. I often find inspiration for projects from current interior trends, so I am looking forward to having a mooch around Anthropologie, John Lewis and Liberty. Going into town will also give me a good walk. For the remaining part of the weekend I am planning to potter around in the garden and make the most of the sunshine, something that is incredibly welcome after months a grey and wet weather here in North London.
I hope that whatever your plans are, that you have great weekend and that you are able to enjoy an extra day off on Monday. I will be back in your inbox in a couple of weeks time with the June update when I hope to have news of a couple of new projects. Keep well....
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