Sunday, 26 June 2016

Ends in sight!


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Meow meow everyone, Florence here. My Mum is rather busy right now; busy with a needle and scissors, and let me tell you, she's a little bit grumpy! You see, she's finished crocheting the main part of my blanket, but there's just one tiny issue.


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I did try pointing it out to her every time I sat on the blanket. It was pretty obvious, even to me. See if you can spot what she'd failed to notice!


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Can you see them?! Of course you can - all those ends! I did mention once or twice that I didn't think that the blanket was meant to have a fringe, but that fell on deaf ears! I was only trying to help. So yesterday evening Mum started weaving in those ends. 


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I even let her have the blanket all to herself today to speed up the process. I know that sometimes I do make it quite tricky for her when I'm fast asleep slap bang in the middle of it! I found something else to sleep on in the meantime - a crocheted bag!


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I was very excited when Mum started crocheting the border later this morning. I was impressed by how fast she'd sewn in those ends! But then I discovered that she'd only done some of them, and before long, the border had caught up with all those ends! Time to down the hook and pick up the needle again.


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The pile of ends has grown, but I think that there are still about half of them left to sew in. I've heard mutterings that Mum is going to sew in ends as she goes next time. Yeah, right!!! I'll believe that when I see it!


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In the meantime, I'm going to keep a low profile and snuggle back onto the blanket at the earliest opportunity. I have my paws crossed that next week you'll be able to see a finished blankie, borders and all! Meow, meow! xxx


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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Very colourful!


Today's post is brimming over with colour, the perfect antidote to our somewhat dreary weather of late. There is something rather uplifting seeing lots of colours together. Definitely good for the soul and for making you feel happy. 

I have been making steady progress on my Cosy Stripe blanket. I think I have 6 colours left before the main part of the blanket is done. Then it'll be the fun job of choosing colours for the border. My evenings have looked a lot like this ...


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You can see that Florence is keeping a close eye on proceedings. She won't leave me alone when I am working on the blanket, when usually she curls up on Mr JK's lap. I think she is making a point!

I finished off another Contact Print cushion yesterday. I picked out a rainbow of fabrics from a stash of scraps that my friend Michele sent me from her bag making business. I like it a lot and have plans to sew another! I used a fun sheep print fabric for the reverse - very bright and cheerful. I bought the fabric when I visited one of the big craft shows last year and am pleased that it's been used. 


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The postie brought me a colourful parcel this week; I was the winner of a giveaway on Picperfic's blog and won a sweet little quilted dish. Marianne very generously padded out the parcel with a braid of her delicious fibre - perhaps I'll spin this up to start off the Tour de Fleece next month.


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The garden is looking lovely, especially if you ignore all the weeds! Lots of pinks and purples with the odd splash of orange amongst the flowers. Which one's your favourite? I do love foxgloves, there's something magical about them. 


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Spotted this ripe strawberry today too, luckily before the birds did! You cannot beat English strawberries for sweetness and flavour. Yummy!


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We went for a walk around the gardens at East Ruston Old Vicarage this afternoon, and finished our visit off with tea and cake. A very friendly robin came and perched on our table, hoping for a few crumbs, so Mr JK shared his cherry bakewell muffin. I think that's the closest to a wild bird I've ever been. He returned a couple of times for more.


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In case your eyes need a rest, I'll leave you with a black and white photo of Flo, taken earlier this week. I love her big eyes in this. She looks like she's up to no good (she probably was, too!) Have a good week, hope it's full of colour! xxx


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Sunday, 12 June 2016

100 is the magic number!


Yes indeed! Mr JK was running a race yesterday - the Norfolk 100k - which, if you are in any doubt, is 100km or the equivalent of running two and a half marathons!! Blimey! It makes my legs ache just thinking about it! I was his support team, going to each checkpoint with food and drinks and I jokingly said that I would attempt to crochet the equivalent in yarn! Of course, I didn't manage that, but Mr JK did complete the distance (which turned out to be nearer 114km, with detours to the course and also a couple of navigational errors!!) Such an amazing achievement and I am so, so proud of him. This medal brings his race 'bling' total to 12 for this year so far, and I am pretty sure that many more will be added before the year is out!


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Although I was way off crocheting 100km of yarn, I did reach my second goal of finishing the penultimate set of stripes on my Attic24 Cosy Striped blanket. One more set of stripes and the border to go. Yay me! If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have seen me posting various photos of my progress yesterday, but I will share them again with you here.


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Part of the run followed the North Norfolk Coastal path, so I had some rather nice scenery for much of my hooking time. My favourite stopping place was Burnham Overy Staithe; there was plenty of activity in the water with boats and the odd swimmer to keep me entertained while I waited for Mr JK to arrive.


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Today has been a lazy day chez josiekitten, with Flo allowing Mr JK to share her blanket on the sofa as well as inspecting the progress on the crocheted blanket! (I am trying to ignore all those ends right now, I find it hard to weave them in inconspicuously!)


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On the knitting front, I managed to get a photo of my Fruit Gums socks - knit using Magic Loop and Continental knitting. The stripes actually match up pretty well, despite my not putting any efforts into them doing so. A lucky accident! I might put these at the back of my sock drawer and save them for the autumn. We'll see!


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I've also finished the first sock of a new design - very simple but hopefully showing off the colours of a Debbie Bliss sock yarn. Here's a little peek at the toe.


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Today, I stitched the June block in the Sugar Block Club; six blocks done, six to go. This block is based on a maple leaf design. 


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And here are all six blocks - my favourite one is the middle one in the bottom row I think! How about you?


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The garden is looking good (as long as you don't look too closely at the weeds!) and the poppies have started blooming. It's quite incredible how from one day to the next, almost from one hour to the next, the flowers open. Their petals are like paper. I'd like to get some in different colours as well these salmon coloured ones in the garden. 


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Have a good week, whatever you've got planned. I'm hoping that the weather is going to be good enough to sit outside in the evenings to work on my blanket. I'm aiming to have it finished by the end of June. I'll leave you now as I have 'wifey'-duties to do - Mr JK has a couple of rather impressive blisters on his feet that require attention! I won't treat you to a photo, don't fear!!! xxx


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Sunday, 5 June 2016

And breathe!


It's been a whirlwind of a half term; non-stop busy. I'm not complaining though as it's been lovely. Last weekend, Mr JK and I went to London as he was running in a 10K race on the May Bank Holiday Monday. As we didn't leave Norfolk until mid morning on Saturday, we decided to stop off en route rather than head into London that day, and so after consultation with maps, Audley End was chosen as our destination. It's run by English Heritage and there was plenty there to keep us entertained for a few hours. After going around the house, we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the grounds. Capability Brown did a lot of the landscaping of the grounds, although it seems that he fell out with the owner of the house and never completed the job! 


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One of the hot houses was full of pots of strawberries; the aroma was rather delicious. I wonder whose job it is to pick all that fruit?! I hope it doesn't go to waste. 


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On Sunday, we went to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Although we've visited there before, I never tire of it as there's always so much to see. It was a little cool when we arrived, so the Palm House was our first stop. 


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After that, we went to the Lily House, my favourite part in the whole of Kew. There is something magical about it with the huge green lily pads and the splashes of colour from the blooms. 


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I even managed a few rounds of sock knitting whilst taking a rest. It is the most glorious place. If I lived near by, I'd definitely have a season ticket to go there regularly! 


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Monday was race day - the Vitality London 10K - and while Mr JK was waiting in The Mall for the race to start, (apologies for the grainy phone photo)


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I got a photo of one of my ThreeBagsFull bags on the gates of Buckingham Palace; I thought it might make the group members smile!


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After the race, (Mr JK ran a personal best!!) we headed back up to Norfolk where I unpacked our case and promptly packed another bag for the next day. I was going to stay with my friend from Uni days, Diane. You might remember me teaching her to crochet and knit socks on previous visits. To say that Diane has become hooked on crochet is a bit of an understatement! Her house is bursting with loads of crocheted blankets, each one gorgeous! I felt quite proud that I had started her off on this woolly adventure and having seen all her blankets, I really want to crochet my own granny square blanket! Just look at all these - a veritable snuggle of blankets!


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I worked on my sock while Diane crocheted, and we whiled away the days quite happily, popping in and out to get supplies (both food and yarn!); there was much drinking of tea and eating of cake that week!


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We did venture out one sunny morning to the gardens at Knightshayes. The walled garden there has been restored and it really is magnificent. I don't think they can be short of volunteers to work there, it's idyllic! (Perhaps not so good when it's freezing cold and pouring with rain!)


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Before you ask, yes, of course we had a cream tea! There really is nothing quite so delicious as freshly baked scones smothered with a rather indecently large amount of Devonshire clotted cream, topped off with blackcurrant curd! I am not looking forward to getting on the scales tomorrow morning, let me tell you!


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With all the travelling I did over the holiday, there was loads of knitting and hooky time, so I will share what I've been working on with you another time! I need to get my 'school head' together now and think about the coming week! Hope it's a good one for you! xxx

Saturday, 28 May 2016

By the skin of my teeth!


It has been a week of madness here, spinning at every opportunity in a desperate attempt to get my yarn spun up and plied in time to get in the post for the spinning competition at this year's Fibre-East. I know that I work better under pressure, but even so, this was perhaps a little too close for comfort! Last weekend, I got the spinning wheel turning again and made a start on my competition entry. I shared with you the first of the braids - 'Sunset'. Over the following days, I spun up 'Dusk' and 'Night', with my trusty feline assistant close by to supervise. Thank goodness for Flo! I'd be lost without her!


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When it was time to start plying, I set up my own version of a tensioned Lazy Kate. I find that the bobbins turn round too fast on the one that is on my wheel, meaning that too much yarn unwinds and then plies back on itself. This one may look a bit 'Heath Robinson' but it works really well.


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Crikey, I don't think I could have squeezed another metre of yarn onto this bobbin! Satisfyingly full of lovely springy yarn!


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I'm very pleased to say that I posted my entries off to Fibre-East this morning! As well as this 3-ply yarn, I also entered a 2-ply yarn that I'd spun a year or two ago and a shawl and socks both knit from handspun yarn. I'll let you know later in the summer how I get on. I had forgotten just how relaxing spinning was. It's not too long until the Tour de Fleece begins; I'm looking forward to a whole month of playing with fibre. Do you fancy joining me? xxx


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Sunday, 22 May 2016

A bit like riding a bike!


Or so it would seem! I can't actually recall the last time I did some proper spinning. It must have been at least a year ago, before tendinitis reared its ugly head. So it was with some trepidation that I dusted off the spinning wheel this weekend. I have until the end of the month to submit my entries into this year's spinning competition at Fibre-East. I grabbed a braid of fibre from stash and set  about preparing it. Before long, Flo was there to test how soft it was! Perhaps she was wondering if it might become a blanket for her! She also inspected the quality of the spinning! I split the fibre into three lengths and spun each one, before plying them together. And wonder of wonders, I hadn't forgotten how to spin! I even ended up with a semi-decent yarn at the end!








Today, I started spinning the fibre for my competition entry - it has to be a three ply yarn, each ply a different colour. I knew exactly which fibre to use; fibre from Picperfic's luxury fibre club that was dyed with a three ply yarn in mind. I  love Marianne's dyeing, the colours are always beautiful. I was drawn to 'Sunset' as my first spin - vibrant shades of pink, red, orange and violet, with so many shades in between. Mr JK was out on a long run in preparation for a 100 km run in three weeks (yes, I did write 100 km, it wasn't a mistake!) so  I had the day to myself. I opened the door to the garden and enjoyed the bird song as I spun. Flo mooched around - in, out, shaking it all about!! She even jumped up and sat on my shoulders for a while!







My aim is to get the other colours spun over the next couple of evenings. It was such a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours and I was pleased with how the spinning went. Aren't those colours just glorious?

Other news - my Cosy crochet blanket is progressing. I haven't quite finished the 4th repeat of colours. I think I have three more colours to go. Flo is keeping a close eye on its progress! You can see how it's looking from the second photo where I've spread it out.





I've started another Contact Print cushion cover. This time, I've tried to use a rainbow of blocks using mainly scraps that I received in a fabric swap from my friend Michele. I took a quick photo of  it spread out on Mr JK's keyboard. I think this is the most accurate one I have sewed so far.





I'll leave you with a photo of our lilacs. They have been promising to burst into bloom all week and today, when I walked past, I was hit by that heady aroma. Gorgeous! I wish you could smell the scent too! Have a lovely week! xxx