Saturday, 11 July 2020

Nine challenges for June - an update


I realised that I had forgotten to update you with how I'd got on with the 9 challenges I set myself for June in an attempt to keep focused. I've found it very hard to keep track of what day it is. Staying at home, the days all merge into one. Hard to believe that this is week 16 of lockdown for me and I've only left my home once to go for a blood test! Shielding is due to be paused at the end of July, although my consultant has already told me that I will still need to observe stringent social distancing. At least being able to go out and have a change of scenery will be something! Anyhow, I digress! Back to the 9 challenges I set myself for June.




*** Challenge 1 ***
Crocheted temperature blanket

I've managed to keep this up to date, and it's now halfway to being finished. There were a few hot days in June which introduced a new colour into the high squares. I'm already wondering about what kind of border to do on the blanket. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.




*** Challenge 2 ***
Over the Rainbow socks

When I was at the Suffolk Socks knitting retreat earlier this year, I bought a sock set from Ellie. I'm a sucker for any kind of rainbow yarn and this one appealed to me because it was a pastel one. Ellie sells her yarn and lots of other lovely things on her website Craft House Magic, so pop over and take a look. I'm getting quite a collection of new socks to wear once it starts to get cooler.




*** Challenge 3 ***
Bunting

My friend Philippa has just got a summer house in her garden so I offered to make some bunting to decorate it. She wanted grey/white/silver colours and it looks very sophisticated. I want to make some to brighten up my back garden now.




*** Challenge 4 ***
Love Note sweater

I'm not quite sure why it has taken me such a long time to get round to knitting one of these gorgeous sweaters. The pattern is from Tin Can Knits and it's been around a while now. I used yarn from Truly Hooked and knit the body longer than the pattern suggested. It's so soft and light, I absolutely love it and am already planning my second and third! I want one in All The Colours!




*** Challenge 5 ***
Crochet Now article

The Stylecraft Blogstars take it in turn to write an article for Crochet Now. Mine has been submitted and will be in issue 59, which goes on sale on August 20th!


*** Challenge 6 ***
Design submission

I've submitted a design to be considered for publication in a knitting magazine later this year. I've not heard anything yet, so don't know if I've been successful or not. As it's all secret, I'd better not share anything with you, even the yarn! Shhhhh!


*** Challenge 7 ***
Give and Take sock pattern

My Give and Take sock pattern has been published and there's a knitalong going on right now in the Stylecraft Make Along group on Facebook. It only started on Thursday so you've got plenty of time to join in. You can buy the pattern from my Ravelry designer page here. If you're having difficulties accessing Ravelry since the changes that have been made to the website, then please email me and I'll do my best to help you. (josiekitten123atgmaildotcom)




*** Challenge 8 ***
Baby knits

A friend of mine recently became a grandma to premature twin boys so I offered to make a couple of little tops for them. Another friend also asked me to knit a gift for a new baby, so I used the same pattern. It's called Lil Kimonos (Ravelry link) and it is a very sweet pattern. I used Stylecraft Bambino and Bambino Prints yarn and it was perfect for the baby knits.





*** Challenge 9 ***
Poppy Treffry embroidery club

I still haven't got round to doing any work on these unfortunately. Hopefully I will make a start in July. I've told myself that I'm not allowed to join the Christmas embroidery club if I haven't made the summer projects yet, so hopefully that will spur me on. I'm not quite sure why I'm procrastinating so much, as I love free motion stitching.

Despite not finishing all of June's challenges, it won't come as a surprise to know that I managed to reward myself with a yarn purchase or two!  A new discovery for me is Ring a Rosie and Barbara dyes the most beautiful speckled yarns. Take a look and see if you can resist! I'm having a month off from specific challenges in July, but still hope to get a few old projects cast off as well as cast on a new one or two! I'll be back tomorrow with some exciting news so stay tuned! xxx







Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Give and Take socks take 2!


Helloooo! I've got some more Give and Take socks to share with you today. These were knit using yarn from Pixie Yarn. I love Sophie's dyeing and she's just started up her own website, so go and check it out. It's a feast of colour, perfect for today as it's grey and rainy here in Norfolk.

Here are the Give socks, knit using a sparkly yarn in the Loulabella colourway ...







Here's Take, knit using It's Raining Rainbows. You know how much I love rainbow yarn!







There's a Knit-along starting tomorrow in the Stylecraft Make Along group over on Facebook if you fancy knitting one or both pairs. If you join the group, you can get a discount code for the pattern too. Hope to see you there! xxx

Give and Take socks pattern available to purchase here! 
Stylecraft Make Along group on Facebook here!



Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Give and Take socks




I'm excited to be able to share my latest sock design with you. The Give and Take socks came about when I was knitting swatches of different stitch patterns. I wondered what the effect would be if I added or took away a round of knit stitches between the rounds of lace stitches. So without further ado, here are the Give socks...









Knit using Stylecraft Yarn's Head over Heels All Stars sock yarn in the Ossie colourway, these socks have a round of knit stitches in between each round of lace stitches to make lacy ribbons climbing the sock. 

The Take socks are a close relative...









Knit using Stylecraft Yarn's Head over Heels All Stars sock yarn in the Woldgate colourway (designed by yours truly!), these socks have had the knit rounds taken from the pattern, to leave only the lace rounds, creating pretty curves of lace.

Both pairs of socks feature a twisted rib cuff and are knit top down with a heel flap and grafted toe.  There's an 8 or 16 row pattern which is easy to memorise. The pattern is one size and has quite a bit of negative ease so will fit a medium-adult sized foot. If you'd like to knit a smaller size, I would suggest going down a needle size. I used between 60 and 65g of each ball to knit each pair. 

The pattern is on sale in my Ravelry store here for £4, and I'm donating £1 from each pattern sale to my Fibre4Fibres fundraising page to raise money for Myositis UK. The Stylecraft Make Along group over on Facebook are going to be having a knitalong throughout July, and if you join the group, you'll be able to get a discount code, valid throughout July, to get 10% off the pattern. You can find the group here

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's Give and Take socks in the group. Which do you prefer? I hope you have lots of fun knitting them! xxx


Give socks (right) in Head over Heels All Stars Ossie and Take socks (left) in Head over Heels All Stars Woldgate
Join the Stylecraft Make Along group on Facebook here and get your discount code.

Buy the Give and Take socks pattern on Ravelry here! 

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Distractions!


I've just finished knitting a sock. Nothing unusual in that I know. The only thing is, this sock isn't on my Challenge 9 for June, and the yarn I'm using I wasn't meant to buy until I'd finished all 9 challenges! Oops! That's just the way it goes at times. You have to follow your knitting urges, at least that's what I'm telling myself! 

I've joined Ellie's group, Craft House Magic, over on Ravelry. There's a Summer Sockalong going on and I wanted to join in. I couldn't use my Over the Rainbow socks (which are on my Challenge 9 list) because I'd already knitted too much of them before the KAL started. I have been wanting to try my Inverse Striations socks using two more solid colours, so I bought a couple of skeins from Ellie in a purpley-blue colour, Babooshka, and a buttery yellow, Build me up Buttercup. Well, the yarn arrived and it was gorgeous!




Those skeins were just calling out to be wound, it would have been rude not to! And before long I had two lovely plump yarn  cakes sitting there.




You can guess what happened next, can't you? The yarn cakes begged to be cast on! How could I disappoint them? That would have been just plain cruel!




It's a very addictive pattern - you want to keep on knitting one more repeat to see the pattern grow. Before I knew it, the first sock was done!






Its partner will be knit with the colours the other way round, with a yellow cuff, heel and toe. I haven't cast it on yet - but there's still time this evening and it would make the perfect knitting companion for watching the final of the Great British Sewing Bee. If you'd like to knit your own pair of Inverse Striations socks, you can buy the pattern here from my Ravelry store. £1 from each pattern sale is being donated to Myositis UK. Happy Knitting! xxx


Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Isolated but not alone


I'm just starting week 12 of lockdown. The only person who has been inside my house, albeit very briefly, in full PPE and without touching anything, is one of the nurses from my GP practice when she has come to do blood tests. I've had a couple of socially distanced chats with my postie when he's delivered squishy parcels to me, and my friend Julia when she's dropped off my shopping. 

But although I'm on my own in the house, not forgetting Flo of course, I have found a way to have some company. Prior to lockdown, I hadn't ever really watched any knitting podcasts, but having met Ellie from Craft House Magic on the Suffolk Socks knitting retreat in February, I decided to start watching her weekly podcasts. She is such a lovely, bubbly person with a great sense of fun and I enjoyed looking at her knitting and sewing, as well as hearing her (whispered) confessions! So I decided to start watching her podcasts from her very first one and it's been so nice. Almost like she's been keeping me company sat knitting away on the sofa and drinking endless mugs of tea. 




I will point out that watching podcasts can be very dangerous as you get introduced to all sorts of lovely yarn dyers and makers that you may not have come across before. Since watching Elllie, I've discovered Chapel View Crafts, Ducky Darlings Yarns and Hedgerow Yarns to name but three. Oh dear! 

Before long, I will be running out of Ellie's podcasts so will be looking for some more virtual knitting pals to tune in to. Please leave me any recommendations in a message. Thank you xxx

Friday, 5 June 2020

May challenges - how did I get on?


Hello! How are you doing? Thank you so much for stopping by - observing the correct social distancing of course! After what feels like weeks of sunshine, today is grey and rainy, but the garden definitely needs it so I'm not complaining. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and managing to cope ok in these strange times.

You may remember that I set myself 9 challenges to complete during May in an attempt to keep focused on my projects and actually finish a few things. And on the whole, I think it worked! Here's a reminder of my challenges ...




I've already shown you a couple of the completed projects, but I hope you won't mind seeing them again as it makes me feel like I've achieved a lot if I repost them! 


*** Challenge 1 ***
Sew flags for the hospital

My local hospital put out an appeal on social media for volunteers to sew flags that could be used to celebrate the International Day of Nurses and Midwives. I was given Greece and Gibraltar and managed to find enough of the right coloured fabrics in my stash to make them. The flags were displayed in the hospital and looked amazing. It was really good to be invoved in a project and a way of saying thank you for all the care that I've had there over the last two years. I think that the hospital has plans to make a permanent display which is a great idea and a way of showing their appreciation for their staff.





*** Challenge 2 ***
Sew safari animals

These cute animals were made from a Moda fabric panel and were pretty easy to put together. I bought my panel from Wool Warehouse and added an extra to each one - crinkly ears for the elephant, a squishy bean bag tummy for the giraffe, a rattle for the lion and a squeaker for the zebra. They have gone to live with Dorothy and I hope she has fun playing with them.




*** Challenge 3 ***
Poppy Treffry embroidery club

I signed up for Poppy Treffry's 6 week embroidery club and was one of the lucky ones to be able to buy a membership that included all the materials too. However, my previous sewing projects had made it obvious to me that sitting at a sewing machine was a struggle. Because I have lost a lot of muscle around my spine and core, sitting upright is very hard work as I naturally want to slump! Until I have managed to see my Occupational Therapist to see if there is something that can be made for me to give me better support, I've got myself a back support - a bit like a corset but with velcro - and am going to give that a whirl to see if it makes me more comfortable. So I didn't tackle any of the projects, but look forward to getting on with them this month. Poppy is planning a Christmas embroidery club too so I'm excited about that!




*** Challenge 4 ***
Finish Rainbow Ripples socks

It feels like absolutely ages ago that I finished these socks! They raised £220 for Myositis UK and I hope to be able to knit some more to raffle later in the year.




*** Challenge 5 ***
Finish the Bellissima chunky blanket

This blanket has been on the needles for almost a year! It got put on the back burner when I concentrated on the Good Striations blanket, but I'm pleased to say that despite Flo's 'help', it's now finished and will hopefully be released over the summer. No real look at it yet, it's a secret! Shhh!




*** Challenge 6 ***
Temperature blanket

I'm delighted to say that I have managed to keep up to date with my temperature blanket. For me, one square a week for both the highs and lows is manageable and it's hard to believe that when the current rows are finished, we will be pretty much half way through 2020! I'm using a Sunburst granny square pattern which is free and hooking away with Stylecraft Special DK which is perfect for blankets.




*** Challenge 7 ***
Write up and publish Mermaids' Playtime pattern

Since this pattern has been released as a free download here on Ravelry, it's had nearly 400 downloads. I'm hoping that this will spur me on to write up the other 3 sock patterns that I've had hanging around for far too long!




*** Challenge 8 ***
Finish Dottie's cardigan

I knit this pretty cardigan using Stylecraft Bambino yarn and even though I knit the age 18 month size, it's only just big enough for Dorothy. So I'll be knitting aged 2 years for the next one!




*** Challenge 9 ***
Finish socks for Stylecraft KAL

I'm releasing a sock pattern next month to coincide with a KAL in the Stylecraft Makealong group over on Facebook. I'm pleased with the design, and it comes with a little bonus in that there are two different designs in the same pattern! More will be revealed in due course! 




I did give myself three rewards if I managed to finish all 9 challenges. I may have celebrated prematurely by allowing myself to buy some yarn (I do seem to be doing rather a lot of comfort buying at the moment) and casting on the yarn to knit a gorgeous pair of stripy socks. The yarn is from Stripey Cat yarns and Sarah has just set up her own website. I managed to finish the socks by the end of May and in doing so, entered a KAL being run by Sarah to knit a pair of socks in May. And guess what? I won! Yay me! So I got to choose another beautiful colourway to come and live with me. I used up every scrap of the self striping yarn (the colourrway is Snap Dragon) and ended up with just a tiny amount of the contrast green.




I've set myself 9 challenges for June to see if I can keep focused, so I'll share those with you now. Several people on Instagram liked the idea and are doing something similar. Let me know how you manage to keep yourself on task, I'd love to know! xxx