Well hello September! It is officially the first day of autumn according to the meteorological calendar, but we always seem to get a couple of lovely weeks of weather once the kids go back to school, so I am not packing the summer clothes away just yet and will not be using the A word until the beginning of next month once we have exhibited at Yarndale - the scenic drive back from Yorkshire always feels like the start of autumn for me!
Over the last couple of weeks I have completed all the remaining work needed for the Spirit of Flora CAL so I have started on some new projects. I have had fun making some new Pinterest boards and have even cleared up my studio a little in preparation for new designs. I think this time of year is the perfect time for a bit of organising and have plans to do some decorating in the house over the next couple of weeks too!
From a Janie Crow perspective I have just a few things to tell you about this week and I hope that you are all keeping well.
Who doesn't love a neat pile of blankets? Definitely not me as I am a massive fan of seeing crochet and patchwork blankets folded up and ready for a chilly evening. This week over Instagram we showcased some blanket stacks with a difference!
The first photo below is ours. It shows some of our favourite blankets and shawls photographed on a chair. The second image also shows a lovely stack of blankets - the vintage kind that bring back memories of childhood summer days in the garden. It is a lovely image that evokes lots of feelings for me especially as piles of blankets are just so appealing, but what is really special about this second image is that it is infact a painting rather than a photograph! Can you believe it?
Image copyright Cindy Rizza
Did that make you gasp? Then take a breath: this exquisite artwork has been created in oils by an incredible artist who we are HUGE fans of - Cindy Rizza.
Cindy's work is exactly our childhoods: gorgeous sun-dappled blankets and deck chairs (please, please go and see the deck chairs) in glorious patterns and colours which we recognise in our imaginations from childhood days. The warmth and peace from her artwork is palpable and it is not an exaggeration to say we could gaze for as long as our busy days would allow.
There are many beautiful subjects that Cindy explores through her artwork, so please do visit her page and enjoy her gorgeous work. (The sunlight through the washing on the line is just breathtaking!)
We cannot of course do any justice to Cindy's background or the hours and years of developing her art here, but we hope that this tiny introduction might encourage you to visit her Instagram page and find out more.
I love it when the sunflowers start to bloom in July and it always amazes me just how long they continue to look fabulous in the garden. We still have so many of them and they will continue to cheer me up for the next month or so as we head into autumn.
I have been looking at colour trends for the 'A' and thought I would draw shades from my Fields of Gold blanket to put a nice colour group together, which then led me to look at other colourways shared on Instagram. Needless to say I found some beauties and hope that their makers don’t object to me sharing them here. Images via @crafts_r_for_us and @lizziemontgomerydesign
Emma has recently added some great videos on the Janie Crow YouTube channel to help with some of the ‘join as you go’ areas of this design so if you’ve never done that before do take a look!
I love the current trend for slipovers, tank tops and tabards, so I thought I would try to incorporate some of my motifs from the Spirit of Flora CAL into a design for something similar. I’m using an image of a fabulous garment by Toast as the basis for my layout and am so far very pleased with how it’s coming along.
I’d love to know what projects you may have incorporated some of my motif designs into. I have seen a dress made using the motifs from my Fridas Flowers CAL and cardigans made from the Persian Tiles blanket in the past, alongside many more.
I hope to have this top finished within the next couple of weeks so that I can wear it in the 'A'. I will show you when I’m done. I’m using Stylecraft Yarns ReCreate DK as it is one of my favourite yarns and is 100% recycled.
If you are following the Spirit of flora CAL the ninth motif is due to be published next week in Inside Crochet Magazine. It is the much anticipated Sunflower motif, so do look out for it.
August 15th was 'Granny Square Day', hosted by Simply Crochet Magazine, and Gemma asked our Facebook followers to share some of their favourite crochet squares. We kicked off with a photo of some of the motifs from the Love is Enough colourway of the The Fruit Garden blanket. We sneaked a rectangle in there too!
There was definitely a lot of love shown for the Fruit Garden blanket in the comments. We're particularly interested in Deborah Argorake's project as she mentioned that having started on her motifs for the Night & Dark version of the blanket she's not sure whether to make them into the blanket or a dress instead. Now that we would love to see so please keep us posted Deborah!
Spirit of Flora got a couple of mentions too with Antoinette Muller posting a gorgeous selection for us to see.
Vicki Wheeler's particular favourite is the Marlborough motif (below). Loving the colours, Vicki.
It was also good to see a Janie Crow design that doesn't appear quite so often on social media, with Lynn Lamb posting a photo of some of her favourite Bohemian Blooms motifs. Thank you for sharing Lynn, they are lovely in your colour palette.
We have recently had the book for this project reprinted and are working on a Stylecraft yarns version now that they produce an organic cotton yarn. We hope to have matched the original shades pretty well, so as soon as we have a yarn listing for this we will let you know.
We think you just can't beat a traditional home made hot dessert and, as the cooler evenings set in, it's even harder to resist the lure of a comforting pud! As many of us are becoming more health conscious it seems harder to allow ourselves such things, but recipes for 'lighter' versions can be found
This week Gemma has been experimenting with one of her family's favourites, bread and butter pudding, and recommends this quick and simple recipe from the Baking Mad website. It looks so yummy and perfect for using up left over bread.
Some time ago we touched briefly on the subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how potentially it could be used to create crochet patterns. Well, along similar lines we have been seeing images of fairly extreme 'crochet' creations cropping up all over social media, elderly ladies with huge crochet cats being the particular one that springs to mind.
We were curious about the origins of these and having done some digging Gemma discovered that the images have been created by Lydia Masterova and were originally posted on her Instagram account and Facebook page.
If you click on either of the images above you can read more about Lydia and what led her to create these images. We can only assume that they took far less time to create than a genuine crochet project of that magnitude might take!
The crochet designer Kirsten Ballering has also been experimenting with AI, asking the AI programme Midjourney to imagine her a crochet rainbow. You can see the result in the image below. It's certainly an impressive rainbow but we're not sure where we would start with writing the pattern! Click on the image to check out Kirsten's Facebook page.
We are still not sure quite how we feel about the effect that AI is having on the world and whether or not it is detrimental to arts and crafts in particular, but we thought you might like to see these images so that you can make up your own minds about how you feel too.
We are having a family and friends get together this weekend in honour of our son-in-laws birthday, so I have been busy getting ingredients ready for a big chocolate cake for Chris and we have been making the garden party ready with fairy lights and a bit of a tidy up. Obviously we are hoping for warmer weather so that we can make the most of being outside and we have the bug spray ready!
We should have been in Peru by now as I was scheduled to tutor a Knitting Traditions trip with Arena Travel but this has now been postponed to next year. Andy and I decided not to have a proper holiday in its place but will be pottering about at home for a couple of weeks instead and we will plan some walks and trips out to make up for it. Having spent so much time away from home lately I am really looking forward to just being around in the house for the next couple of weeks.
We have Yarndale on the horizon and hope that some of you might be visiting. I love Yarndale because it is more crochet orientated than other yarn shows and I really enjoy transforming a cattle pen into a Janie Crow sanctuary for a weekend!
I hope that you all have a lovely weekend and that you have some nice things lined up to do. If you're anything like us you're probably already planning what you can do with hook and yarn, packing it into the spare hours as tightly as possible, squeezing out everything we can from the time!
As you know, we're big fans of stash busting projects and if you can make a whole blanket out of yarn from your stash then that seems even more rewarding! However carefully we plan, there is always excess yarn isn't there? Although perhaps 'excess' is the wrong word to apply to our precious stashes of bits and bobs of leftovers as these, alongside the recent completion of a larger project, often sets us off looking for a smaller project to work on to use them up. Something to scratch the crochet itch without jumping straight back into another long-term project.
Do you have a favourite go-to project type for these times? Bags? Hats? Shawls? Or smaller pieces than these? We have spoken before about the single sitting project: the thing that might be nothing but is something all by itself. The little 'in-between' bit of creativity which needed to be expressed without committing time too far in the future. Also, even if you're a 'one project at a time' person, we do feel there is validity in having 'the big one' on the go and a smaller project too. Two different types doesn't really violate that 'one thing only' rule does it?
So what do you make? What smaller things make you happy when you have some spare crochet moments? We have some things in the pipeline that may fill these gaps but for now, tell us what you're making! We'd love to know.
THIS IS A NEW BLOG.
YOU CAN FIND MY OLD BLOG BY FOLLOWING
Welcome to my blog. Here you will find my email newsletter archive alongside any other general musings or information about events or new pattern releases that I wish to share with you!