Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Get stranded!


more Loop class (1)


OK people, get your 'impressed' faces on please! I know that this little swatch of knitting doesn't look like much, but believe me, it's the result of about 5 hours of blood, sweat and tears! Actually there weren't any tears and no blood was shed during the knitting of this swatch; it was fun but just incredibly HARD WORK! Oh yes, my brain certainly ached after so much concentration! On Sunday, I went to the fabulous Loop yarn shop in London to take a class in colourwork. If you're a regular reader, you'll know that colourwork has appeared on my list of knitting resolutions for far too many years without me doing one single thing about it! Well, no more! Whilst I haven't exactly conquered it yet and am in no way ready to cast on my first Fair Isle sweater, I certainly feel like I have been equipped with the knowledge and skills to make that a possibility at some point in the future!


Loop Colourwork class (2)


When I arrived, the table was set out with an array of inspirational knits made by the class tutor, Juju Vail. Not only that, but there was a mahoosive plate filled with biscuits to keep our blood sugar nice and high! It was fabulous to see what can be achieved once you've mastered the basics!


Loop class samples (1)

Loop class samples (2)


To begin with, Juju set us all off learning how to knit using the Magic Loop technique. I had only tried this method once before and Did Not Like It At All! So my heart sank when I found out that Magic Loop is the preferred way of knitting any stranded knitting rather than using double pointed needles, so there's less to contend with, knitting from needle to needle as well as all the stranding. But Juju's method was so simple, it all fell into place straight way and there I was, knitting in the round with no sign of those pesky ladders that had put me off this way of knitting many years back. As well as using Magic Loop, Juju showed us how to knit in the continental style, using the left hand to tension the yarn, rather than 'throwing' the yarn with the right hand in the English way of knitting. So my first few rounds were painfully slow, having to think about each stitch I knit. Juju suggested that we practise for 10 minutes a day for two weeks to get the movements into the muscle memory. Once we were reasonably happy with that, it was time to introduce a second colour to begin some stranded knitting. Initially I did a 'salt and pepper' repeat of the two colours before trying out a little charted pattern. I held both of the yarns in my left hand, and found it quite awkward. But I plan to keep on with this method for now as I reckon with practice it will become easier. We were also shown how to steek our work, using crochet to stabilise the knitting before cutting. So I did the same thing when I'd finished my swatch. It was a little scary taking a pair of scissors to the knitting, but at least I know that it all holds together!


Loop Colourwork class (6)

Loop Colourwork class (4)


After the class finished, I had time for a bit of browsing in Loop. There are so many gorgeous yarns there, it is hard to resist. I bet you're thinking that I bought loads of yarn, aren't you? Nope! You would be proud of me as although my fingers twitched towards a skein of Sock That Rock yarn and some balls of Jamieson's Shetland yarn for trying out colourwork samples, my resolve to knit from stash this year was strong and I left the shop yarnless!! That has to be a first! 

So what's next? Well, I plan to knit a pair of plain vanilla socks using both the Magic Loop technique and Continental knitting as my next project, before tackling some colourwork socks. I'm just off to pick out some yarn before settling down to watch Bake Off, so I'd better hurry up! I'll let you know how I get on! xxx

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Notes from a train somewhere in Essex!

Good evening dear friends! I am blogging from my phone for the first time so have no idea what it will look like! I have been in London today. More precisely, I have been at Loop, taking a class covering all aspects of colourwork. Very happy that I will be able to finally tick this off my knitting resolutions come December!  Magic loop and continental knitting? No problem! Report later in the week. xxx

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Sew much fun!


No knitting this week as my time has been taken up with a sewing project. I have been making a free motion stitched cushion as a gift for a Ravelry friend who was visiting from the USA. Katharine and I have met up in London a couple of times before, but this was the first time she had visited Norwich. We had a lovely (but far too short!) time together. If you follow me on Instagram, there are a couple of photos there of our adventures. We descended on Snoopydog yesterday for a nattter (no knitting as we were talking too much!) and enjoyed a meal together in the evening. I shall be seeing Katharine again next Sunday as I am taking a class at Loop. Anyway, back to the cushion! I am just thrilled with how it turned out and it was hard to give it away! I have plans to make some more as gifts for yarn-loving friends. Enjoy! xxx

free motion stitched cushion home is where the yarn is (4)

free motion stitched cushion home is where the yarn is (6)

free motion stitched cushion home is where the yarn is (11)

free motion stitched cushion home is where the yarn is (12)

free motion stitched cushion home is where the yarn is (8)

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Happy Things


1. The winter sunshine creating a disco ball effect in the lounge.


winter sparkles


2. Using my Christmas tree spatula when baking stollen muffins. (Recipe here.)


baking in January!

stollen muffin (1)


3. My Ripple Cushion getting 1000 downloads on Ravelry!


Ripple cushion milestone


4. Sewing the January block - Churn Dash - in the Sugar Block Club.


sugarblock January


5. Spotting the first snowdrop in the garden.


chilly January morning (5)


6. Finally getting a couple of photos of two finished knits - my Kylbeg cowl and Once Upon a ... Cowl. I am planning on knitting up matching mitts with the leftovers of each, so will hold fire with the patterns for now.


Kylebeg cowl (1)

Once upon a ... cowl (4)


7. Receiving a yarn colour card from Yarn Stories. The Once Upon a ... Cowl above is knit using three shades  from their DK range and now my head is buzzing with other colour combinations!


happy yarn samples


8. A vase of local daffodils bringing their own little bit of sunshine to the kitchen!


first daffodils of the year (1)


What's made you happy this week? xxx

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Dabbling!


It's been a funny old week. I've found it really hard going back to work, I hate the dark mornings! I have become a fair weather walker and hung up my walking boots until it's lighter again. Mr JK commented to me that FitBit must wonder if I'm still alive, my weekly step total is so low!! Today, however, for the first time in ages, I managed to get my step count over 10,000. Woohoo! It has been glorious here so we headed up to the North Norfolk coast for a walk. One of our favourite spots is Wells-next-the-Sea. You can park in the town and then walk down the beach road following the channel out to the sea, before arriving at the beach.


Wells-next-the-sea (3)

Wells-next-the-sea (6)

Wells-next-the-sea (1)


There was a steady stream of walkers all with the same idea as us, but the beach is huge so there's plenty of space for everyone. I love it there, with its cheery backdrop of beach huts and pine trees.


Wells-next-the-sea (11)

Wells-next-the-sea (10)

Wells-next-the-sea (8)


Then it's up through the sand dunes and through the pine woods back to the beach road. A most pleasant way to pass a couple of hours.


Wells-next-the-sea (13)

Wells-next-the-sea (16)


I was able to knit during the journey there and back and managed to get a few more round of a sock done. This is an alternative version of a sock pattern I'm hoping to release soon, discovered through a happy mistake by one of my test knitters!


Kali Kardia socks wip (1)


After Flo's not so subtle hint to get moving on the Cosy blanket, I have finished the second of the six colour repeats. My aim is to get one done a week, although that is pushing it! I laid it out to photograph its progress and Florence did her best to try and convince me that it's perfectly big enough for her, thank you very much! 


Flo says the blanket is big enough (3)

Flo says the blanket is big enough (8)


Yesterday I learnt how to sew a Japanese apron. I bought the fabric and bias binding last year when I first saw the class advertised. I really like the style and plan on wearing it when spinning to stop my clothes from getting covered in fluff! It was my first time sewing bias binding and I'm really happy with the end result. It's a bit weird to put on and take off to start with - you feel like you're tying yourself in knots! But I think I've got it sussed now! (If I don't blog next weekend, you'll know that I'm tangled up in my apron, so send help!)


Japanese apron (2)

Japanese apron (7)

Japanese apron (9)


I haven't picked out my fabric yet for the Sugar Block club, but am planning on doing so this week. I'll show you as soon as I've decided! Have a good week and stay warm. I'm not looking forward to the cold weather that's forecast after weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures. It's going to come as a bit of a shock! xxx

Friday, 8 January 2016

Caught!


Red pawed!

This was what greeted me when I came home from school today. Florence had obviously decided that the sofa wasn't comfortable enough, or perhaps she was a little chilly. So she dragged the crochet Cosy blanket out of its bag and made herself a snuggly den! Got to love that little cat. She just loves all yarny things. Best I crochet faster! xxx


blanket pilferer! (2)

blanket pilferer! (3)

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Briefly on a Sunday afternoon


It's grey and wet here, just adding to my mood as I ponder the end of the holidays and the return to work tomorrow. I know that I shouldn't complain as I've had two weeks off school, but I could quite easily get used to this not working lark, spending my days at home with yarn and fabric! It has been a lovely break, stretching over those long holiday weekends when Mr JK didn't have to work either. We quite lost track of what day it was! 

The past few days, I frogged several projects that I had fallen out of love with, as well as finishing a couple. Mr JK's Matchday socks certainly have brought Norwich City luck since I finished knitting them as they have won both their matches since! I think he will have to wear them every time they play from now on!


Mr Jk's Match Day socks (3)


A post-Christmas catch up with Snoopydog brought a whole plethora of goodies - project bags, yarn, books, needles, notions and a delightful mug whose sentiments I echo entirely! Snoops and I both agreed that knitting from stash is the way forward in 2016, so it will be interesting to see who leads who astray when we are next together at a yarny event! Thank you so much for all these gorgeous gifts!


gifts from snoops (2)


As you can see from the photo above, I was totally spoilt with knitterly goodness with all these birthday gifts from Snoops. The yarn on the right is Socks Yeah! from Rachel Coopey and I am itching to cast on with it. It's a relatively new yarn and comes in a range of gorgeous muted colours. Just a shame that I'm on a yarn diet now so I can't buy any more!!


gifts from snoops (3)


I love this pretty project bag (you can find others here if you'd like one of your own!) and have already got a project lined up for it. Two yummy skeins and a book completed my Christmas goodies from Snoops. I find myself drawn more and more to Rachel Coopey's designs and plan on knitting some of her socks this year.

New projects have been cast on for a new knitting year. In the ThreBagFull group on Ravelry, we have a couple of fun KALs going on right now. One is a year long Sock Challenge and the other is a season of selfish knitting. So I have two pairs of socks cast on as well as a cowl. The second pair of socks are being knit in the ball of yarn that has been in my stash the longest. I had to dive deep to find that one! Take a look...


Kali Kardia ribbed WIP (1)

stash dive Monkeys WIP (1)

DSCN3465


I've been indulging in a bit of early morning hooking in bed the past few days, but this morning proceedings were interrupted by Flo, who not only tried to snuggle into the blanket-in-progress, but also wanted to nuzzle against my hands. The Cosy blanket, from Attic24, is growing steadily. My aim is to have finished the next set of colours by the weekend.


Flo interrupts hooking

Cosy blanket stage 2 WIP (1)


I plan on carrying on improving my sewing skills this year and came across this blog today. I like the idea of sewing a block a month. It feels quite achieveable and the instructions look clear. So I reckon that I'll mull over fabric choices this week and make a start next weekend. Do you fancy joining me? Go on, it'll be fun! Catch up again soon! xxx