A couple of weeks ago I spent 2 days on the Stylecraft stand at a trade show in Harrogate. It was really great to chat to yarn stockists and craft enthusiasts and to hear about what is going on out in the market place. Many people told me about the rise in the number of teenagers and young adults wanting to learn to crochet, which is just such a positive thing to hear!
I think the prevalence of crochet in the fashion this summer has encouraged many young people to take to making things themselves and it seems that they are more than happy to create things without patterns or very much guidance, taking to Youtube and Instagram for video help - how cool is that!
I often sit and fiddle about with yarn and hook to see what I can come up with. It’s a little bit like doodling with a pencil on paper, but using some yarn and a hook instead. It’s nice to work with no real intention or vision in my head as to what the end product is going to look like. It’s purely the enjoyment of playing around and seeing what happens.
I guess this links to one of our previous posts on Instagram about the process of crochet being the thing we enjoy rather than the outcome of the crochet itself and I love the fact that every now and then a yarny doodle will throw up something incredibly exciting that shouts at me to become a ‘proper’ design.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks where I have found very little time to sit and crochet, but I’m hoping that will change as we head into a new week as I am itching to get back to working on my new version of Persian Tiles, which has been inspired by my trip to Marrakesh back in early July.
I love making Pinterest boards to get a feeling for a colour palette and a couple of weeks ago I made a new one based on the colours I found in Marrakesh. I had thought that I would use cream, blues and greens with a touch of gold to create a new version of #persiantilesblanket but now I’m going down a more vibrant route. I would love to know what you think.
The Persian Tiles blanket draws its inspiration from the beautiful and intricate geometric patterns found in Persian and Islamic art and architecture. These patterns often include complex motifs and vibrant colours. I have chosen a new palette to create the detailed tile-like crochet octagons, which I hope will eventually result in a visually striking version of this favourite design.
I have chosen a colour palette based on the colours I saw while I was away and have referred to the distinctive palette and visual elements associated with this incredible city. Rich, earthy tones alongside bright red, blue, green and yellow are an integral part of the city’s identity and culture. They can be seen in its architecture, textiles, pottery, and overall aesthetic. This vibrant and eclectic colour scheme is a source of inspiration for many artists, designers, and travellers who visit the city.
While Morocco heals itself from the recent earthquake I am holding the people of this wonderful country in my heart along with those in Libya affected by the floods. You can donate to Unicef to help children affected by both of these natural disasters by following this link.
I always find that I am at my most organised this time of year. It is almost as if the years of going back to school in September have conditioned me to sort out my paper work and stationery and I have even purchased and marked up my 2024 diary with dates for next year, so I am feeling ultra smug!
Despite being organised with a new diary, I tend to think of calendars as a Christmas thing and am invariably disappointed to find that the one I had my eye on is out of stock in the shops once Christmas is over. This year, however, I don't need to worry about picking up my new calendar in time, as Emma Ball has added a Janie Crow Crochet Blanket Calendar to her fabulous range.
If you fancy being ultra organised too, we have an EARLY BIRD OFFER on the calendars which will reduce the price from £10.95 each to just £9.50. The offer runs out soon, so you might need to be quick!
If you're curious about which blankets Emma chose to feature on the Calendar you can find a little reel on Instagram that shows the pages.
Here at Janie Crow we all love the Mystical Lanterns pelmet/bunting that I first saw at Folklore Yarns in Belfast. It’s a lovely way to interpret the pattern so I have made a new technique video to show you how to add mirrors to the centre of the motifs to add some extra sparkle.
The video is on YouTube now - click here, or on the image above to watch.
Among the other lovely projects in this month's issue of Inside Crochet Magazine is part 8 of the Spirit of Flora CAL - a glorious sunflower! William De Morgan often used sunflowers in his tile designs. I love all that sunflowers symbolise; summertime, warm weather, and sunshine, and so, from the outset, it was almost a foregone conclusion that the project would include a crochet motif based on one of William’s sunflower tiles.
This motif is the first one in the CAL to feature an offset flower. It is quite a complicated piece to make, but take it slow and you'll be fine!
I love this block and hope you do too. It will be a particular delight to see your photos of this one, so do remember to use the #janiecrow and #spiritofflora hashtags when you post on Instagram!
As always, enormous thanks to @insidecrochet @clairemontyknits and @leannejadephotography for the beautiful photos taken at the Emery Walker house. A dream photo shoot!
Crochet retreat alert! Have you heard of Stitchtopia? If not then you may wish to look them up! They create wonderful crafting holidays and retreats for crocheters (and knitters, and quilters and textile lovers of all kinds!) with Arena Travel - a company I have worked with for the last couple of decades!!!
One of their most popular retreats - The Stitchtopia Festival - is back in March 2024 and is a brilliant weekend with access to workshops from 8 different experts - including me! I shall be teaching beaded flowers and also how to achieve the perfect crochet finish.
There are plenty of other workshops to choose from including knitting techniques with Anna Nikipirowicz and quilting and sewing too. It's a lovely weekend and loads of fun. You can follow this link to view the details of the weekend event, which will take place in March next year, and you can also have a look at some of the other workshop trips on offer, including a rather spectacular Knitting Traditions of Peru holiday next year!
I am cutting back on workshops and events next year to make time for more design work. The remaining places on the Peru trip and those on the Stitchtopia weekend are pretty much the only dates I have on offer for next year other than the Festive Workshop I always run with Debbie Abrahams in November.
We cannot believe that Yarndale wool show has been and gone in a flash for another year! We really love Yarndale and had the best time there last weekend, despite it feeling like a crazy whirlwind! We were completely wiped out for a couple of days earlier on this week after driving home and unpacking, but we are back up to speed now and can focus on all the positive experiences the show brought.
I was so pleased to be able to chat to lots of you about the positive effects of crochet and craft as a whole and it was really lovely to hear your stories about how crochet has helped you and how pleased you are with projects you have made - honestly it was so humbling to be able to catch up with so many of you and I am already looking forward to doing it all again in 2024!
Huge thanks too to my amazing team, Andy, Paul and Sarah, who did an incredible job and make me very proud! Take a closer look at Paul's tank top for a clue to a pattern that could be coming along soon!
Our son, Charlie has been away on holiday for the last couple of weeks and as he really dislikes cauliflower we had intended to eat it at every meal while he was away as Andy and I both LOVE it! In reality we have only managed it a couple of times, making roast cauliflower with garlic and fennel in the oven last Sunday and Creamy Cauliflower Korma by the Happy Foodie one mid week evening.
I have a feeling I have shared the recipe for the korma before, but as it is one of my favourite veggie recipes I thought I would feature it again along with a link to the Sag Aloo Shepherds Pie recipe from One Pot, Pan, Planet by Anna Jones. Both of these recipes are delicious and the Shepherds Pie would be particularly good on a chilly autumn evening.
We are home for the first weekend for a while and are looking forward to some time with friends and family. The weather has most definitely turned more autumnal this week so there are some leaves to clear up in the garden and some tidying to do. I have started to pick the pears from the tree as I was concerned that storm Agnes might knock them off so they are looking good piled up in the kitchen ripening!
Next week I will be on the Stylecraft stand at The Knitting and Stitching Show here in North London, so do come along and say hello if you are visiting. The stand will be in the main hall by the theatre.
Hoping you all stay well and happily hooking until next time
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