YARN REVIEWS – Stylecraft UK

I wouldn’t know where to begin to talk about my happiness with this company, and I have lots of reasons for that. Number one for me is that they make yarns with natural fibres, added.

Yarn has changed a great deal since I was a little girl who could walk into a yarn store and get some. Many of the brands I used to love are gone. They no longer exist, and these yarns are for the European and British markets.

Here is the link to their website, because I want to talk about this incredible designer they have, Janie Crow! So first Stylecraft https://www.stylecraft-yarns.co.uk/ and then Janie! https://www.janiecrow.com/

I had seen Janie’s designs a few years ago, and I found them in the youtubes. By accident!

Well let me show you what I have been making. It’s called Fruit Garden CAL!

I am madly in love with this yarn!

I am also madly in love with her designs, and this is where it begins. I had sort of seen these things called CALS in the youtubes, but then I went to the yarn company itself and I saw what Janie had designed. The first thing I saw of hers was Frida’s Flowers. I did not know we could get the sorts of cottons they make over in England and other places. Well, let me show you how I began on Frida. I had the wrong quality in the cotton! Still though, I was a determined American. I rushed out so fast to try and get some cotton yarn you would not believe it. To a big box store, because that is pretty much all we have. Over a two year period, I practiced with it. It takes me a few tries, you know?

Had I known there was a Stylecraft?

Well now I do.

I cannot tell you how much I love the Stylecraft DK “Life” series. I would choose that over anything, right now. The hand on this yarn in a project is superb.

What I love is the Batik series. I am not kidding. Wow.

This yarn has been such an inspiration to me I am going to design things with it.

This is how much I wanted to make Frida’s Flowers the minute I saw it. Frida Khalo!

I love the stunning bright flowers she designed, and it is the spirit of Frida in that design.

So let me show you what I was trying two years ago.

I think I did pretty well, but I didn’t have THE COLORS! Nor did I know there was a yarn kit?

That’s how badly I wanted to make it over a two year period. I’m serious.

Well, guess what?

This was box two from the Stylecraft ranges.

I guess you could say, never use the wrong yarn unless for practice?

I have the right yarn now, from the right company, and the color ranges are superb.

I’m currently testing it, for another CAL, and this is how it works up on a 4mm hook.

xxoo!

from Adrienne

Fruit Garden CAL!

Progress!

I am ready to do the stripey border, very soon now….

So in the months I haven’t been writing, I started to crochet.

I am loving the Stylecraft yarns, and I know I am going to love Sheepjes as well. Yarn on the way, gorgeous things to create.

The complexity of this pattern is so gorgeous and since I joined Ravelry I have found all my fave designers. In a lockdown of misery what else can we do?

It’s been sheer hell on earth, and boring as hell, but there is YARN, and where there is fab yarn there is beauty! Here you can see what the edging is all about. This blanket is so gorgeous. So I am a bit nervous about the edging, but have a great teacher, in the designer!

xxoo!

from Adrienne

Yarn as paint

That is how I have been feeling as I complete the Fruit Garden CAL designed by Janie Crow. To explain how I feel about all things Brit goes back to being 13 and getting Mary Quant so, well, getting this gorgeous yarn from Stylecraft is a bit like that. But so is this pattern as it is a real design by an artist. So you can check out her other designs!

So, I wasn’t able to get a kit with the correct colors and it was a mad hunt trying to think what to use, but, the colors that I chose remind me of Brideshead Revisited, many moons ago. The original.

I wish I could show you this pile of colors I have had to work with, but here is an idea of that.

I am crazy over the Batiks, especially the Inky Navy. The Hollyhock motif is my favorite, but I love the orange in the dusky orange, and Old Gold.

This DK weight of yarn is new to me, and I love it.

I had to sub Cream for the Parchment as it was sold out, and I was really worried because I wanted that butterscotch feel of the antique version she designed. I think Cream will work with the Caramel.

That the DK Life range has wool in it, has been fantastic. Just that little bit of wool seems to make all the difference. There aren’t yarns here like this. So it’s like getting a box of very happy paints.

I want it to come off as the 20’s. Over in Ravelry they said “Romantic” – well yes, I suppose so.

Oh boy more yarn is coming soon. I was really tempted once I saw that Duck Egg Nepp. So I may go for this all over again in greens and purples. The cream colored Nepp as a backdrop and the Duck as border.

Just thinking of Waugh, and listening to the voiceover…. this is one of the most gorgeous things you will ever watch. I saw it was on Tubi TV.

So happy with this yarn.

This gorgeous design.

Tea is in order.

I switched the leaves in the center. Fern and Gorse Nepp.

xxoo!

Almost there.

Almost in that beauty that is England.

Yarn, during the pandemic

Focus on color. This is going to work for me. So I should be getting the cartons of the yarns soon, to start Janie Crow’s gorgeous Fruit Garden CAL. I have been practicing the squares, and so here are some images. Yesterday I realized I will have to order yarn, and this is new, in order to get a higher quality than what the big box has.

Also, I think I want to design a little myself, and so yesterday I began to think about that.

So, focus.

Focus on joy.

Focus each day on a thing that can make you happy. This can be anything, and right now for me it is color.

It is getting harder and harder to absorb the news, to watch the news.

Insert beauty.

So here is the first little flower, the Forget me not. Done in blue, from some scrap yarns I have:

I love how Janie has made the designs from easy to hard in a kind of production mode. You can follow her hands:

This is what I came up with for the clementine square – I only had a bit of melon colored yarn and for the other bits I had to use Lily cotton to get semi near the shades she used. The thing is, I really wish I had gotten the kit. The reason being, the yarns are so much prettier. So I went back to the Stylecraft site and looked at what I ordered. Some of the colors jumped off the page at me, and it may be that I try and do parts of this with something different, when the yarn comes. I had to do that when I started her pattern for Frida’s Flowers, too. I didn’t have the colors. So it was trips and trips back to the yarn store.

This time I plan to FINISH.

So in my basket, yarn for a knitted really cush blanket I began a year ago.

It’s so soft and I made a tweed by using big box style.

But I have some Italian yarn! I fell in love with that, and yesterday I was able to get a bit more. They are closing it out, oh no.

I guess I could say I am designing a blanket, then.

Score one!

The yarn makes me really happy and so this is the time for doing things by hand.

Even looking at the colors for the soup I made that day…

So, small things.

Small, quiet things, to get through this time.

The news is incredibly frightening.

Have yarn.

Bright little strings, crochet

They seem to be helping, a little. So I am waiting on some boxes of actual yarn that the designer Janie Crow used for her magnificent Fruit Garden CAL. Not having the actual yarn has been strange because I can’t do the colors? She uses yarns from Stylecraft for this in a mix.

I have been practicing. The Acanthus motif is the most fantastic, I mean, just to do that one.

So I have almost made all the flowers, with scraps of different kinds of yarn. I can see why Hollyhock was her favorite, it is gorgeous. She has such a signature style on the leaves and all the picots. Last summer I was in the big box and saw a magazine – Crochet and the scarf on the cover. I knew it was her! So there you have it.

The Maltese Cross in the center of Acanthus is such a stunner. The kits were sold out, so trying to find the yarn was maddening. I can’t get Parchment so I had to settle for Cream. So this is Hollyhock.

I had some Caron Cakes in blues. I think this will be the type of yarn I will be receiving. So I didn’t have any pink, drat. Winging it in blue. The main thing is to try for each.

The main thing is to say no matter how terrible everything seems, keep going. At the end, you will have this gorgeous thing.

So these color ranges from Stylecraft, just wow. You can find her free patterns for things here. https://www.stylecraft-yarns.co.uk/

Waiting on the yarn boxes is like kid in a candy store. In the UK they have DK weight, and these yarns are called DK Life, and Batik. Both are wool blends. The Caron Cake is also that mixture and so I was really happy to shade with the blue.

I couldn’t get Blue Haze and it is killing me, anyway, we shall see, soon.

Strings of yarn as solace, in this time.

I’m trying to remember the colors that I ordered, and just wow. I have way more than the ones in the kit coming, because I knew I would have to make substitutes.

Crochet, color, yarn and art

I was drawn immediately to Janie Crow’s design for Frida’s Flowers on account of the complexity. I mean, at first I thought, oh my god, the beauty. It’s the same thing with the new one for Fruit Garden. The only trouble is the yarn I could get. It had been years since I had shopped for yarn and I wanted natural fibers, which we cannot get here in town anymore. The boutiques are long gone, and the only craft place is a big box that took over. So, I gave it a start but? Garish. As you can see. Still though, I gave it a start. My feeling is, if you are going to put that much work into something, have the yarn be great. On this new one, there is a Bamboo/Cotton blend, and if the colors? Well, that or, my fave Mercerized, but from where? It is not to be had. Not in stores. I found it! So, some of Frida’s Flowers and the various passes.

I have no idea how any of us will get through this time.

Maybe by making some art.

So, I am drawn to natural fibers, and the only trouble with this yarn is that it is for things like dishcloths or something. It does not have the “hand” or the tight twist, or the shades or? Dunno.

That image is from a fave Mexican Restaurant here, that I miss so much. If they closed it would be hell.

Life as we have known it is over.

Hope you are having an easier time of it where you are.

I’m keeping my old Teddy near me. Watching lots of film. It’s as if all the fun is gone, here in California.

So, yesterday, while I was waiting, am waiting, for the yarn to arrive from overseas, I began. I crocheted a little square for Fruit Garden. I was able to do it! The first square is called “Forget Me Not” and let me show you the vid she has done. The shades she has chosen are gorgeous. I just used some yarn I had hanging around, and it is pure cotton. I found it in a box. That children’s book I wrote has a theme in it about the plastic problem in the ocean. So, age 13 was all about crochet for me, and we used to have a thing called Speed Cro-Sheen that was brilliant spun cotton on a ball. This would be fantastic in that. Thirteen was also all about Mucha for me. Anyway, triumph. I did it! We need the small victories, in the middle of so much sad.

So, just practice, until the gorgeous yarn arrives. I made it blue, and what I love is the intricacy of how she changes the colors. One thing I did, was use some white and the red. I used three single crochets to stuff that area with color. The yarn is made by a company called Takhi – it comes from Greece and is so gorgeous. I actually crave the colors, as if they are paints.

So, both the red and the blue, are mercerized style cotton.

Look at these colors!!!!!!!!!!!! The red is from here, Tahki, ages ago. I love, love, love the color ranges. So maybe I can get that for the Frida’s Flowers pattern, down the road.

Looking back over the heaps of squares and things I made, I can see that with the Frida pattern, I was able to put even the most garish of colors together, on my own. So this one was a fave from that time. It’ s funny how much the design changes given how the colors work. In this one I had to unravel parts of yarn balls to get to the beige, or the red, or even some of the greens. This will be so much easier with higher quality yarns. It really will. Still though, I have a tendency to not like things, and these took so much effort, I can see that now.

Crochet, and how I found Janie Crow’s gorgeous designs…

Two years ago I decided to pick up crochet again and knitting, after years. Since childhood, actually. My husband wasn’t well that year and I was watching over him, so I was sitting around with tons of time on my hands, and I started to watch videos in Youtube of different women all over the world crocheting things, in their own languages. I had no idea there was something called a CAL, which is a crochet-along with others, but I started to see these. They are nothing like what we knew in my childhood – these new mandalas and so forth are total works of art. So these flowers date from that very autumn, in my life two years ago now.

The colors and the patterns, the intricacy and delicacy of the designers. But I met a kindred spirit in Janie’s designs. For one thing, the gorgeous homages to people like Monet, and now May Morris. Best was Frida though, one of my favorites, just because.

So, a woman in Youtube was doing the stitches in a video and I sat for hours with her hands, “teaching me” – those videos are here.

Then I searched for Janie and found that she does patterns for a yarn company called Stylecraft in the UK, so I saw the originals. I was just swept away by how exquisite her things are. The flowers and the leaves. The only yarn I could buy here is not the kinds of colorways they have over in the UK. So, I made each square, just to see if I could. I guess there had been kits for these things, once. It’s a bit like doing a paint by number, except, you want to pay homage to the designer herself? The work that goes into designing to begin with.

One of Frida’s Flowers, that I crocheted, using American cotton yarn, as you can see, the colors are not the same…

The colors! They reminded me of a time years ago when I was up in the Sur and getting books by Kaffe who does things with Rowan Yarns. Well, it has been ages since I was so inspired, that it is almost like using oils.

Some of her patterns are over in Stylecraft, you can see that here, and I just was able to find some of that special yarn and it will be here in seven to ten days! Yay!

Because, the new blanket is total Arts & Crafts, both versions. So gorgeous, omg. You can watch her talking about the design here.

xxoo!

from Adrienne

(who is going to make these, while we are going through so much of a nightmare with the coronavirus situation)

The yarn will arrive and I can start on Fruit Garden, even though I was not able to match all the colors exactly.

Vanilla Suede PLAY SBWC 2019

So more backstory on character interiority MARINA and TRENT before we move into DANCE SCENE.

For MARINA

(wise, wounded by love)

ARCHETYPE = The Wounded Feminine

(wary)

For character interiority MARINA listen here

TRENT

Trent has been very wounded by women.  He is willing to take another chance but his heart is set up for disappointment.  Nevertheless – he remains the STRONGER of the two.  Willing to take the lead and take a chance.

For TRENT many of his girlfriends did not want him to father their children.  In his marriage, his ex-wife cheated on him, under his nose, and so he was humiliated.

ARCHETYPE = The Wounded Masculine

Character Interiority TRENT listen here

Character interiority for BOTH listen here

 

PLAY VANILLA SUEDE

ACT ONE,  SCENE TWO

“Moonlight Serenade”

SETTING:  TRENT APARTMENT

Look:  EMPTY STAGE, only a table with a portable record player.  There is a opened wine bottle and two empty glasses.  Trent has invited MARINA over before they are both about to go to Halloween Party together, for a drink.  This will be liquid courage for Trent.  He has invited her in friendship.

AT RISE:

TRENT paces around his empty apartment nervously awaiting MARINA’S arrival.  This is shown in PANTOMIME perhaps with “Sugar Mountain” playing. For instance he could MIME himself as brushing his hair, he keeps checking his looks in the mirror.  Both TRENT and MARINA live in a small town, and so some of the MOURNERS will also be at the PARTY they plan to go to.  They have been friends in the way that they have known each other across many years and even in their marriages at parties and social events.  They had not seen each other in many years, until the funeral.

I love the imagery in this one for TRENT inner state.

WE HEAR A KNOCK AT THE DOOR (sound of knocking)

MARINA

Trent I’m here

TRENT

Just a second, I’ll be right there Marina

MARINA

(entering from stage left)

TRENT

(warmly)

You look beautiful

MARINA

(smiles softly, turning to show him a tilt of her new shoes)

TRENT

(smiling)

Let’s have a glass of wine, shall we?

MARINA

(glances around apartment and heads over to bookshelf – this can be pantomime and she says)

I can’t believe you have read e.e. cummings, he is one of my favorites

TRENT

I have a favorite one

MARINA

(smiles softly at Trent)

So do I

TRENT

Another glass?

MARINA

(nods, smiling, hands her glass to him so he can refill it)

TRENT

(Pantomimes looking through records til he finds it)

Moonlight Serenade have you ever heard that?

MARINA

I don’t think I have

TRENT

I’ve got it around here somewhere

MARINA

(to opening of the song)

It’s beautiful

TRENT

Want to dance?

MARINA

I’m not sure I know how

TRENT

You just relax and let me lead

MARINA

What if I trip you?

TRENT

You won’t

TRENT

(very gently and softly, with great male confidence, places her hands into a position for a slow dance to Moonlight Serenade, they begin to move every slowly)

My hand goes here and yours goes there, now we’ll just sway a little in place before we start moving

MARINA

(slowly starting to relax, in a slow whisper)

That’s nice, like this

TRENT

(nodding softly against her)

Your hair smells so wonderful

MARINA

Does it?

TRENT

You’ve always smelled like that

MARINA

I’m afraid

TRENT

Of what?

MARINA

The past and the future

TRENT

Don’t be.

MARINA

I can’t take any more death

TRENT

This is the worst decade isn’t it?

MARINA

I think it is

TRENT

You know what we have to do?

MARINA

(spoken very softly, against him, she almost exhales at the word and the feeling of relief as she says)

No

TRENT

Try and love

MARINA

What if that’s not possible?

TRENT

It is.  Put your head on my shoulder

MARINA

You’re so warm

TRENT

Am I?

MARINA

Strong.  You feel so strong.  Stronger than me.

TRENT

Maybe

MARINA

What did you do after Janine?

TRENT

Rambled

TRENT

(pauses for some time, softly says)

What did you do after Evan?

MARINA

Folded up

TRENT

You don’t seem folded to me

MARINA

I don’t?

TRENT

No

MARINA

Our grandparents, they lived in such a different time

TRENT

1929

MARINA

All those years they were together

TRENT

Yes, mine too

MARINA

They knew about love

TRENT

(nods, slowly, pressing her more tightly)

They did.  I’ve made so many mistakes

MARINA

I feel like that too at times.  Maybe it’s this era we have lived

TRENT

Shhhhhhhhh

MARINA

That feels good Trent.  Having your arms around me.

TRENT

Good

MARINA

You’re warm.  It’s like you are solid

TRENT

(rubs his stomach)

I’m solid, as solid as can be.  Feel

MARINA

You big silly.  I wasn’t expecting a washboard

TRENT

Yes you were

MARINA

No, I wasn’t

TRENT

Let me hold you?

MARINA

What do you mean?

TRENT

It’s been years since I’ve touched anyone

MARINA

Trent?

TRENT

It would feel good Marina

MARINA

I haven’t since Evan

TRENT

Janine cut me off at the end

MARINA

She did?

TRENT

The last ten years.  It’s been so long

MARINA

I can barely remember Evan, Trent.  I never thought I could go fifteen years without sex, you know?

TRENT

Me neither

MARINA

How did we do it?

TRENT

I don’t know.  Love’s a funny thing

MARINA

After marriage?

TRENT

Yeah.  Let me put that song back on.

MARINA

Okay

END SCENE FADE TO BLACK

Next scene will be Balcony Scene (edited from Original to be more PG)

Next scene will have them reading EE to each other – the fave poems.

On METHOD ACTING – handy tuck in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_MhhxXSGmo

On Method and Realism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tE0prIjgmMY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARINA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanilla Suede SBWC 2019

So more thoughts on the characters and so forth this morning and thankfully I can tag my actor and actress in FB with all of this because they can talk between themselves about how they want to “BE” Marina and Trent. So this is a very Romantic play.  However these two MARINA and TRENT, like most, had many relationships before marriage, and then marriage went sour for both of them.  Giving this backstory now.  On the invention of what the backstory is, this will be something each actor can know, and pull from.  When I say this I mean the deep betrayals that can happen.  The crux in this is the ability to try for actual love again but the hesitancy about doing that.

I am so happy I have these two actors you would not believe it.  For one thing their looks are perfect as they are playing a certain age, in life.  The marvelous thing about the last night at the Conf is that everyone is exhausted, but the show is a calming time and so what I am going to do is change the words.  To make them PG, except maybe for one that TRENT says because this line is the crux on many levels, so, this can be worked out when we all get to the Conf.  If there is discomfort with the usage of a word, but I don’t there will be.

Notes on SCENE #1 and the MOURNERS

The flowers the MOURNERS carry.  I found some great chalice shaped flowers the mourners could carry.  I was going around and around thinking which sorts of things, but another thing that would be cool is maybe to have the actors find a FLOWER.  Why I say this.  The MOURNERS are like PANTOMIME since only ONE OF THEM has a line “TAKEN TOO SOON.”   The MOURNERS can be any ages, and hopefully we can get six or seven volunteers to flesh out that part.  On costumes for the MOURNERS, they can wear anything they would like, just be themselves.  For the PANTOMIME, this could be things like WIPING AWAY TEARS, anything that these actors can pull from that has been a LOSS in their own lives whether PEOPLE or say, an ANIMAL.  That sort of thing.  We are just pulling up the expression of sadness from the depths. So EACH MOURNER will look like themselves BEING SAD in front of the TOMBSTONE.

I want that part to be VERY DRAMATIC looking.  By this I mean as each steps forward to place a flower on the grave of their friend.  So this takes place one at a time as each steps forward and places the flower.  TRENT and MARINA will be the last to do this in SILENCE and then he will turn to her with “SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO BE HELD line.

THE MOURNERS can watch Marcel Marceau here to have an idea of the SILENCE and how he pulls that up and out.  EACH MOURNER will look DIFFERENT in their expression of sadness, by the PHYSICAL EXPRESSION of that, IN TOTAL SILENCE as PANTOMIME.  This could be something like wiping away tears of a hand to the heart, a deep sigh and so forth.  Hopefully we will get volunteers, because this will be THEM in a PLAY!  But also then they can go watch the play!  after EXITING the STAGE.

I will get this whole thing printed out at Fed Ex, so everyone gets a copy!  Sorry it isn’t coming at you in proper form.  Though the play has words, the most important thing in this is going to be ACTION on the part of these characters.  It is very subtle in places so I am going to try and use PANTOMIME as Marceau to show you that.  I have no worries at all about the actors for TRENT and MARINA.  I am going to ask Carmen and Walter to help us pull it off.  The Lighting should not be hard because whoever does that over the last few years, it’s been so gorgeous.  Last year there was a white curtain?  Maybe we have a curtain similar for the effect?  Of a stage curtain.  It could be that white one?  Just whatever will work and be SIMPLE.  To give the MOURNERS an idea of how powerful their parts actually are?  Watch this.

Also watch this to see how much power a Pantomine has, with the audience.  This is for PEOPLE PLAYING THE MOURNERS to understand that they have really big parts because they are setting the stage for what happens NEXT.

Here is the mime giving a workshop on Pantomime, just beautiful.