Fruit Garden Cal 2020 – Janie Crow Design

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A fabulous project which together with my recent crochet blanket – Sunshine and Showers has really brought my crochet techniques along leaps and bounds. What I really liked about this project was the stunning colours and clever multi-layer affect of various motifs and I think a lot of the success of the blanket was definitely down to Janie’s super helpful videos to accompany each month’s patterns.

Every month Stylecraft Yarns added a new pattern with a link to Janie Crow’s website and the follow along video ensuring success – all of those niggling little crochet questions – where exactly to put the hook – which stitches to count … you name it Janie has thought of everything and explains it all perfectly in her accompanying videos for the project, making it so much more enjoyable. All of the flower designs are based on common British garden flowers that would have been around in the time of William and May Morris. Janie Crow has based this design on the work of these two great designers. William often based his work on historical tapestries and May often basing her embroidery designs on flowers and plants from the garden.

We started with the Forget-Me-Knot design – though in pink rather than the more traditional blue and with eight petals rather than five!

Next I crocheted another wild flower which like Janie I knew as Aquilegia but she refers to as the Columbine and says that the Victorians connected the Columbine with the saying ‘born to win’ – maybe because they grow so well.

The third section was the Clementine – and Janie reminds us that at the turn of the century oranges would still have been a luxury for many people. She also points out how oranges, mandarins and clementines feature in many of the Morris and Co wallpaper and fabric designs and also of May’s embroidery designs.

The fourth part of the project is the beautiful Purple Aster and Acanthus. Janie admits that her final design for the aster is rather a stylised version of the flower but May Morris’s work were often stylised too! I also began the rather complicated Acanthus … but you’ll have to wait till later in the post to see this as we completed it over a couple of months – perfect small steps!

Part 5 introduced me to my favourite of all the design – the Hollyhock. It has an extra layer of crochet between the main flower and the larger leaves which I think makes it really special. The Hollyhocks are tall and strong with their (as Janie puts it) ‘blowsy, almost translucent skirt like flowers’. In William and May Morris’s time hollyhocks would have been common-place in the garden. I love it when they self seed and all of a sudden brighten up a spot in the garden.

Part six saw the introduction to the Dianthus and the project really started to take shape.

Only two more months to go . . . so, onto Part 7. This time the design featured the Chrysanthemum. Janie’s research informs us that ‘stylised chrysanthemums feature heavily in William Morris’s wallpaper and fabric designs and May drafted many variations of the flowers within her embroidery plans’. Chrysanthemums were also given special connotations by the Victorians depending on their colour – red meant a proposition or invitation to start a new relationship, whilst white were all about telling the truth. Violet chrysanthemums were sent as a wish for wellness. Many of stylised chrysanthemums in William Morris’s fabric and wallpaper designs are white or pale yellow – could his choice of colour have been chosen symbolically to reinforce the ethos of the Arts and Crafts movement suggests Janie?

Now to the final section of the blanket. Part 8! Acanthus – which after completing gradually over a few months are now to be finished!

The photo above isn’t a great picture – but you get the idea! Then just the joining of the squares . . .

. . . and the border to complete the project . . .

The finished Fruit Garden Cal – thank you Janie Crow for a really enjoyable and successful project.