Thursday 12 March 2015

Crochet Along 2015 - Inspiration and Design

We have been overwhelmed by the response to the new Crochet Along project (CAL), which will start on the 7th April. We are really excited about this project and are now counting down the days to the launch.

Global sales have been so high that Stylecraft are now out of stock of some of the Life DK shades used in the project. We have sold out of our original kits, but have a limited number of mixed yarn kits available to order via the web site. The mixed yarn kit contains 12 balls of Life DK and 2 shades of Special DK. The substituted shades are as follows: 

Special DK Sherbert in place of Life DK Mint
Special DK Turquoise in place of Life DK Aqua 

The new mixed yarn kit is on sale at a price of £39.50. Original yarn kits are on pre order with expected delivery date as late April/early May.

Our kits contain all the yarns, a JANIE CROW sew in label for you to attach to your completed project and access to a downloadable extra free pattern for an exclusive bag project which you can make using your left over yarns. The sew in label and bag project pattern is only available with our yarn packs and will not be available through other retailers. 

If you wish to source your own yarn, here is a list of yarns used: 

Stylecraft Life DK
14 x 100g balls
326yds/298 meters
75% Acrylic and 25% Wool

1 x 2357 Aqua
1 x 2319 Cranberry
1 x 2305 Cream
1 x 2394 Daffodil
1 x 2344 Fuchsia
1 x 2417 Lily
1 x 2342 Mint
1 x 2301 Rose
2 x 2311 Fern
2 x 2302 Olive
2 x 2416 Teal 

Design Inspiration:
I love looking through interior design magazines and follow the interior trends closely. Most of my knit and crochet design work is for items for the home, such as cushion covers and blankets, so following interior trends rather than fashion trends is more logical for me. Interior trends do tend to reflect many fashion trends and the trend that really stood out to me for 2015 is the botanical trend, which focuses on a colour palette of greens, aqua blues and bright pinks and oranges. The trend is possibly more tropical than my design ended up, but I think the blanket sits nicely in this theme never the less. The mood board I used as a focus for my design is below: 

The Finished Design:
I start every project with very little planning. It is only once I have a completed motif or stitch formation that I am pleased with that I then start to plan a completed design. This design started with a small flower, which reminded me of a pond lily and finally became one of the motifs in the layout process. 

Once I had the idea of designing a project based on a Lily Pond my design began to move away from the themes on my initial mood board (this is something that tends to happen to me a lot – I get so carried away with colour combinations and stitches that I stop looking at my initial inspiration and start designing in line with the first few pieces I create). The first lily motif reminded me of Monet’s lily pond paintings and, although I didn’t then look at the paintings from Monet’s Giverney garden, I had them in mind when designing the rest of the blanket. 

I have designed every block from scratch - I don’t use blocks designed by other people or work directly from stitch directories, so each of the motifs within this project are not available elsewhere. For this CAL I wanted to create a project that would appeal to novice and experienced crocheters and I felt very quickly that the Lily Pond theme could work really well for this. I hope that the first few pieces will help crocheters with their basic stitches and will focus on working in rows. These pieces are meant to represent the water in the lily pond, the ripples and small waves and the fish and plants swimming and growing below the surface. Later pieces (the flower motifs) are worked in the round and they start easy and progressively get a little harder, some of the lilies are just opening, so are small and easy, whilst others are in full bloom with a few layers of brightly coloured petals. 

I am really pleased with the design and will be able to show you images of the completed blanket very soon. The completed blanket measures approximately 110cm square

The patterns:
The patterns will be free to download from the Stylecraft web site from the 7th of April. The patterns will be published fortnightly and there is a total of 8 patterns. As I said above I have tried to design the pieces so that they get progressively harder and hopefully this means that crocheters can use the CAL as a learning tool. The patterns will focus on one motif or block every fortnight and you will need to complete an average of 4 motifs/blocks per set. Most of the blocks are 15cm square, although others are slightly bigger.

The first block focuses on basic stitches and we have put in step by step photographs the whole way through and have tried to include an image for most steps of the making process for each block.

The project can be put together as you go along, with the first finishing instructions appearing in pattern set 4. Putting the project together as you go along saves you a massive job at the end and means you can enjoy your blanket almost as soon as you have crocheted the last piece, although I have added a lovely shell border that will take a little bit of time!

I will be giving more information about things you can do to prepare for the CAL over the next few weeks so do make sure to stop by and check up on anything new! You can follow Janie Crow and Stylecraft on facebook and twitter.