I was away teaching a couple of workshops at Black Sheep Wools in Warrington last week and did a meet and greet event on the shop floor too, which was just lovely! This week I have been getting ready for a residential workshop in France which I will be tutoring next week, so it has been all about prepping and teaching for me over the last couple of weeks.
I have also been working on the the final chapter of my new book, which will be called 'The Perfect Crochet Finish' and Sarah and I have been organising the samples needed for the photography, so it has been busy, busy, busy!
I have some exciting things to tell you about this week including some brand new colourways of my Mystical Lanterns blanket and shawl design, so I hope you can spare five minutes to catch up with all things Janie Crow!
The name of a repeated tessellating design, like the one I have used in the Mystical Lanterns blanket, is called an ‘Ogee’ pattern in Arabesque design. It took me a few weeks to get the design of these blocks right; initially I came up with lots of complicated ways to create this motif, but in the end, it was so simple – funny how sometimes a design process can take so long, and the outcome can be so easy to make!
The Mystical Lanterns blanket is an incredibly popular pattern, so almost a decade after it was first released, we felt it was time to give it a bit of an update. We have created some new colourways and layouts using the Stylecraft range of yarns. We have created one version using Naturals Bamboo + Cotton that we have called Beatrix, another using Special DK named Avice, and a third using ReCreate DK and Highland Heathers DK that we have called Orcadia.
The colour palette for the Beatrix version was chosen by Stylecraft Brand Manager, Annabelle Hill, who owns a painting of the walled garden at Waterperry Gardens that inspired her choices. Annabelle once lived near the gardens and visited a couple of times a month with her children when they were small. Annabelle says it is the most magical place that was founded by two women, Beatrix Havergal and her partner Avice Sanders in the 1930s.
The yarn used in this colour way is Stylecraft Naturals Bamboo + Cotton. The Avice version is very similar in colour but uses Special DK.
The colour palette for this version was chosen by me and was inspired by a visit to St Magnus’s Cathedral and the Italian Chapel in Orkney, Scotland. The Cathedral is built from rich red bricks, and it features the most incredible tiled floor within its interior with intricate patterns in shades of red, brown, and yellow. The Italian Chapel is also a real treat with a lovely interior and pretty hand painted windows, which bathe the chapel in blue, yellow and pink colours when the sun shines.
You can find a free downloadable document that shows the yarn use for all 3 colourways on the website by following this link. We have kits available to order on the website with a dispatch date of next Monday, but please support your local Stylecraft stockist if you have one as many of them will also be selling the kits. You can find a list of stockists here.
Andy calls my Persian Tiles design ‘the gift that keeps giving’ and it never ceases to amaze me just how much joy the design has brought to crocheters over the last 8 years since its release in 2015. Lucia of @luciasfigtree created her Eastern Jewels version of the blanket a few years after the release of my original colour way and since then it has opened the design up to so many unique colour ways and a myriad of versions.
Kayla from @authentic.artroom recently posted a video of her (more than double sized) Eastern Jewels blanket on TikTok and it has been viewed over 6 million times. Her fantastic videos show the individual motifs in close up and really focus on the beauty of Lucia’s colour choices too so I recommend you take a look.
We are hoping to restock the kits for the blanket along with those for the original colour way over the next few days. We also hope to have kits for the Sandalwood version back in stock again soon. If you want to make Persian Tiles Eastern Jewels using yarn from your stash, or by purchasing individual balls of yarn rather than using a kit you can use the pattern alongside Lucia’s yarn substitution document to help guide you through.
We have added a 'NOTIFY ME' option to our web site recently which enables you to be alerted by email when items come back into stock. We think this will be particularly helpful for those of you on the look out for kits, so do head over to the website and take a look. Having things on wish lists means we can also get a better idea of the amount of stock we need to order, so do make use of this handy tool.
My Fruit Garden crochet along was inspired by the intricate embroidery work of William Morris’s daughter May. The patterns are written for four colour ways. The third one we released is called Love is Enough after the nine line poem written by William in 1897.
The poem conveys the message that love is enough in the face of darkness and that in a world with lots of hardships and depression, the power of love and companionship will help us see the light and face things together.
Despite the poem being written almost 130 years ago I think the message within it stands the test of time and remains poignant and relevant:
Love is enough: though the World be a-waning,
And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining,
Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder
And this day draw a veil over all deeds pass'd over,
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter
These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.
I used the Tudor Rose motif from the Spirit of Flora CAL as the basis for one of my workshops at Black Sheep Wools last week. It was so exciting to see how the motif worked in lots of different colourways.
We continue to enjoy seeing your progress on the Spirit of Flora CAL motifs, but this month we thought we'd have a look through the CAL group on Facebook to find some of your versions of the Maker's Bag, constructed using your selections of the motifs that have been published so far.
Ursula Kesek has made this beautiful version (shown below) using the Marlborough and Chelsea motifs.
Just look at these colours on Rina Levi Celikel's bag below. Isn't it just stunning!
Here's Sarah C Reaser's version of the bag. We love the styling!
Luce Bergeret has opted for citrus colours for her bag. We love the bright, summery feel.
Thanks as always for sharing your wonderful photos! Look out for the next motif, 'Gillow' (one of my favourites) which will be published in Inside Crochet Magazine next week.
Over on the Facebook page Gemma has been taking a look back at The Fruit Garden blanket timeline, beginning in 2020 with the Caramel & Parchment and Night & Dark versions, through to the Love is Enough CAL re-run and then the publication of the book, including the new Red House version of the blanket.
Many of you shared your stories of the original CAL with us, along with photos of your incredible versions of the blanket. We've picked out a few to share with you here.
Kate Byers - a prizewinner!
Tamara Faurot has made 11 versions of the blanket but the one shown above is the one she kept for herself. She dyed the yarn herself, so this truly is one of a kind.
Joyce Shipp made her version in the Stylecraft Naturals Bamboo & Cotton yarn but in her own colourway. She is currently working on her eighth!
We love Lorraine Wiseman's blue colourway.
What has been clear from the comments on the posts is that many of you are still working on Fruit Garden projects and many more are wanting to make the blanket but feel it might be too tricky for them. So, we thought it would be a good time to remind you that there are supporting videos for all aspects of the blanket over on the Janie Crow YouTube channel here. There is a playlist with all the Fruit Garden videos together in one place and many people have said how useful they were so we hope they might encourage you to have a go if you have been wondering about making a start on the project.
This week's recipe recommendation comes from Sarah and it's the wonderfully summery dessert, Almond Pavlovas, with meringue and fresh summer berries. If you have been growing strawberries in your garden this recipe would be a great one to use them in. We're getting a good crop so far this year, they are definitely enjoying the warm dry weather!
After seeing Justin Bieber with his Persian Tiles blanket we are always wondering where the next unusual place for a Janie Crow design to turn up will be. This week one of our eagle eyed followers on Facebook spotted Mystical Lanterns in a cross stitch kit!
Have you been watching the current series of the Great British Sewing Bee? In episode four the Made to Measure challenge involved the sewers sourcing second hand crochet blankets and then using them to create a new outfit. This episode has generated some interesting discussions. Some viewers found it uncomfortable viewing to watch the blankets being cut up, knowing how much time will have gone into making them. In this article from Prima there are a few opposing views. Where do you stand on this?
If you're an Instagram user you can take a look at the Great British Sewing Bee's channel here for some tips on sewing with crochet.
Then over on YouTube The Woolpatch have published their latest 'All Gathered Up' video where they discuss some of the techniques used during the episode. Click on the image below to watch.
Lucia of Lucia's Fig Tree has recently been working on a new colourway of a project designed by Abi at Get Your Hook On. The result is the most amazing 'St Kilda' blanket that features adorable puffins and fish. You can find more information by clicking on the images or by following this link to Lucia's website.
We are heading off to France today and so will be in the sunshine of the Charentes Maritimes region this weekend. We have packed our swimming costumes so are hoping to have a day by the pool in the sunshine and some crochet in the shade on Saturday. On Sunday I will be introducing the workshop group to the project and guiding them through their crochet techniques as we head into next week. We will be focusing on making some crochet flowers, so look out for some images on Instagram if you're interested in seeing what the group achieve.
The weather forecast in the UK is looking good again this weekend so I imagine many of you will be making the most of the sunshine here too, but if you are looking for some movie recommendations so that you can sit and crochet in front of the TV I recommend 'Everything, everywhere, all at once' and 'The Whale'. I watched both films a few weeks ago when Andy was away. Both good in different ways. The Whale is pretty brutal and not at all light hearted so be warned. I can totally see what both of theses movies were Oscar winners.
I hope that whatever you have planned this weekend you stay safe and well. Remember to slap on the sun cream if you are out and about and make sure you keep hydrated and enjoy plenty of ice cream too - it would be rude not to!
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