Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Sitting comfortably - Stylecraft Advent Giveaway 2016


Today's my turn to donate a prize for the Stylecraft Advent Giveaway. Lots of the Stylecraft Blogstars are taking part. As my patterns are all available for free on Ravelry, I decided to do something a bit different. If you read my blog regularly, you'll know that I've started sewing and particularly enjoy free motion stitching. So I pulled out my stash of fabrics (yes, I have a fabric stash now as well as a yarn and fibre stash!) and started to play. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon and before long, I'd assembled the fronts for two cushions. One has a knitting theme and the other is for crochet lovers. It was my first time stitching a granny square and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Take a look for yourself ...





A few close ups to see more detail ...










And finally a few more sofa shots ...







I have kept Flo well away from them, much to her annoyance as she thinks that any cushion is fair game for her! To be in with a chance to win one of these, you'll need to check out the details on the Stylecraft Facebook page or Instagram page to see when the giveaway goes live later today. Good luck! xxx

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Getting my daily dose of fibre


I can remember last year feeling very left out when I spotted all the excitement around the Opal Advent calendar. What could be better than opening a door each day to discover a mini-ball of Opal sock yarn?! Snoopydog was equally as miffed as me that we were both missing out on this yarny fun, so when it came to sorting out birthday gifts back in the summer, I  pounced upon the idea of giving Snoops one. And of course, the saying is 'one for Snoops and one for me'! So I had to get one too. Mr JK was a little bemused by the whole thing, but I told him that if there was an Advent calendar for runners, then he'd have bought one (although it wouldn't be anywhere near so exciting in my view!)

It's a bit of a monster! It's currently sat on the worktop in the kitchen so I can open it up each morning. If you follow me on Instagram, I'm posting a daily photo or two to show each ball. I've decided to knit some 'sort of matching' socks, so knit the first ball from both ends. I did get in a bit of a tangle, but now I know roughly how many rounds I can get out of half a ball, that shouldn't be an issue again. I've also crocheted two 5 round granny squares from the ball (15g goes a long way!) with the aim of putting them together to make a cushion (unless Flo claims it as her blankie, which is quite likely!) 




It would appear from all the photos on Instagram that the calendars are filled randomly, because people all seem to have different colourways. It'll probably end up that we've all got the same ones, but not in the same order! Here are mine so far...







Flo monitored progress on the first ball (rainbow stripes) when I was knitting in bed early one morning. 




I'm not sure that I'll be able to keep up with knitting a ball a day - in fact I know I won't as I'm already three balls behind! But they will keep until the school holidays begin in less than two weeks. 

Check in again on December 8th when I'll be sharing with you my contribution to Stylecraft's Advent giveaway. xxx

ETA - I just found out that my day for the Advent giveaway has been changed and is now a day earlier - December 7th.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Advent


Mr JK was a huge fan of Christmas, as am I, although I'm not feeling very enthusiastic about it this year. We always decorated the house on Advent Sunday and loved opening each box of decorations, collected over many years, greeting all the trinkets like old friends and remembering where we'd bought them from. This year, those boxes are staying up in the loft, and my token gesture towards Christmas, apart from the glass angel I showed you last week, is a rather rustic string of bunting I made at The Makeplace in Norwich. It was a lovely way to spend a morning and I am pleased with the result. I hung it up around the mantelpiece and it brings a touch of the festive spirit into the house. 




My sock mojo has returned and I have managed to finish a pair of DK socks - I love the fact that they knit up so quickly and will definitely knit more. Perfect for slouching around in at home or wearing inside my wellies at Parkrun. The yarn is from Opal, in their Wintermond range and this colourway is 'Sleigh Ride'. I bought my yarn here and had excellent service from Julie. I've also made progress on my giant granny squares blanket, which tells you something about my sleep (or lack of it), as it sits by my bedside!




Talking of Parkruns, I was volunteering again yesterday and it was another beautiful morning. The mist was just clearing and the sun came out. Still cold, but I don't mind that when it's dry and sunny. Give me that any day over a grey, damp day.




Flo continues to be a great comfort to me, coming for snuggles as regular as clockwork each evening as well as being my night-time companion. She seems to sense when a little nudge or cheek rub is needed. It's so nice driving home and seeing her on the window sill looking out and waiting for me.






I had a lovely surprise in the post this week - I discovered that I'd won a kit from Loop in London. The kit is just gorgeous, 21 mini skeins to knit a stripy slouchy hat. Beautiful happy colours which lifted my spirits when I opened the parcel. I've also received gifts from friends in the USA and Canada this week and yet again have been touched by how kind and thoughtful the knitting community has been. Both my friends on Ravelry and Instagram and Mr JK's running friends on Twitter continue to be so supportive.





Before I go, I must just share with you two giveaways that are running, or soon will be. The Stylecraft Advent Giveaway begins today, over on their Facebook page and Instagram. Running from today until December 20th, they'll be giving away prizes each day. The Blogstars have also given some prizes - I think my day is December 8th, but I'm not going to tell you what I've my prize is! You'll have to keep an eye on Stylecraft! 




The second giveaway is from KnitPro and starts on December 5th. The KnitPro Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway will be giving away more than 70 prizes. You can sing away to the Twelve Days of Christmas as you read your way through this list of treats:

12 Clickies clicking 
11 Yarn Cutters cutting 
10 Packs of stitch markers marking 
9 Colour Cables 
8 Repair Hooks mending 
7 Needle Sizers 
6 Wave crochet hooks 
5 sets of DPNs 
4 Jumbo Birch crochet hooks 
3 Royale Midi sets 
2 Wave Crochet sets
and 1 gorgeous Melodie gift set.

Wow! That's a LOT of prizes, definitely worth entering.  Check in on the KnitPro Facebook page for more details when they are announced.

I'll be popping back on December 1st when I have a rather special Advent calendar to share with you. xxx

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Keeping things 'normal'


Not much knitting this week, I've been in a bit of a craft slump again I'm afraid. Flo keeps looking pointedly at the wrappy poncho that I've started. I think if it stays in the knitting bag on the sofa much longer, I'll find her curled up on top of it, claiming squatter's rights. 

It was freezing cold here yesterday morning. I was volunteering at our local parkrun. I really like doing it, and find it comforting to be involved in something that Mr JK was so passionate about. It makes me feel closer to him in a funny sort of way. He really hoped that one day I'd actually run in one rather than volunteer. Who knows?! Never say never! Although it was cold, it was a beautiful morning to be out and about. 









Afterwards I went into Norwich to meet a friend for lunch. There was a Scandinavian market outside the Forum and I bought a beautiful glass angel tealight holder. It's meant to be a Christmas decoration but I think she looks very much at home on the mantelpiece and wants to live there all year round.




This weekend was 'Stir up Sunday', when Christmas puddings and cakes were traditionally made. Mr JK was a huge fan of Christmas and we always made our own puddings, so I decided to keep that tradition going. On went the Christmas music and I followed Delia's recipe. There were tears when it came to the stirring - we always held the spoon together and stirred and made a wish - but I did it and now I have eight delicious puddings to share with friends and eat over the festive season and beyond. 




Flo wanted to keep up with the action when it came to getting them ready for steaming this morning!




And it was with some sadness that I ate the final pudding that Mr JK and I made together last year. It did taste good but ...




I shall say goodnight to you now - Flo is craving a bit of lap time before bed. I'll dig out my sock to knit on too and see if I can finish it off to show you next week. xxx

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Tiny steps


I started back at school this week, but only working mornings while I try to get my sleep (or lack of it) sorted out. It's been good to do something 'normal'. My creative mojo has been pretty low for the past month and I haven't been able to settle to much. My night-time companion has been a Granny Square blanket using a variety of colours of Stylecraft Special DK that I bought a year ago with a knitted blanket in mind. However, I found myself wanting something mindless and soothing to work on and the repetitiveness of the crochet fitted the bill. There's no special plan, just picking the colours fairly randomly and working each round. I plan to use the Parchment shade to work a final round on each square and join them as I go.




I have also started a poncho/wrap using a pattern from the most recent Rowan book. I'm using yarn that Mr JK picked out for a sweater for himself. I had started knitting it but had decided that the yarn wasn't right for the pattern so it had been frogged. The poncho uses the very same yarn - Rowan Brushed Fleece. Perfect! So it will be like having a hug from Mr JK when I wear it. Of course, Flo is rather smitten with it too, but I think I can allow her a share in in the hugs too.




I haven't done any sock knitting for ages and decided to try some DK socks for a change. I ordered yarn from Suffolk Socks and had brilliant service. Julie was really sweet and added a few extras in my parcel in the hope of kick starting my sock knitting. And do you know, I think it's worked. I started these yesterday evening when I was with my pal Snoopydog and look how much they've grown already!  The yarn is an Opal one, so I know it will wash and wear very well. You never know, I might have a finished pair by next weekend. xxx






Sunday, 6 November 2016

Thank you




Thank you so much to each and every one of your for your kind messages and support. It's been a very sad time here, but I have been so comforted by all the good wishes and love that has been coming my way. Cards, emails, gifts, messages and even meeting up with bloggy friends. The knitting community and the running community have been incredible and I cannot thank people enough. I'm going to start taking baby steps back into Blogland over the coming weeks. xxx

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Incomprehensible




My darling Mr JK died suddenly in the early hours of Tuesday morning. I'm going to take a break from blogging for a while as I grieve for my true love and best friend. xxx