Sunday, 25 January 2015

Not a stitch was knit .........

Yes, 'tis true! I did not pick up any knitting all week until yesterday. I had mountains of marking every night from school tests and by the time it was finished, I was too pooped to do anything other than watch a bit of TV before bed. But I have made up for it this weekend, with knitting and sewing both high on the agenda.

Yesterday I made the quilted patchwork panel into a cushion cover. I love it. I used the same envelope cushion pattern that I followed when sewing the Ho Ho Ho bauble cushion before Christmas. It's dead easy! I took the cushion outside this morning to make the most of some bright winter sunshine.

quilted patchwork cushion (5)

quilted patchwork cushion (6)

Florence thought it was made for her, naturally! Here she is , about to test it out!!

quilted patchwork cushion (7)

I carried on with some more sewing today while Mr JK was off running a 10 mile race! Last year I went on a free motion embroidery workshop, and have been itching to have a go at home ever since. Now that my craft room has a dedicated desk for my sewing machine, I can potter about up there and not worry about leaving things out. Previously, I used the dining table in the lounge and of course Flo thinks that anything on there is fair game. She snuck off with my pin cushion one night, which was rather worrying! Thankfully, she didn't swallow any pins! Anyhow, I have a few ideas for things that I was just playing around with today. Take a look and see what you think.

freemotion machine embroidery ideas (2)

freemotion machine embroidery ideas (6)

If you want to see some amazing examples of this kind of textiles work, go and visit Poppy Treffry's website. It's just brilliant! I probably won't get the chance to work on these again until next weekend, but ideas are bubbling away!

The plain vanilla socks are progressing, I have just finished the heel flap of the second sock. They ought to be done by next weekend......... (I know, I said that last week too!)

socks for Monika WIP (1)

The classes are now for sale at this year's Fibre East - my dear pal Snoopydog and I are going to have a go at spindle spinning. I like the idea of having a more portable way to spin - although I probably won't be showing off that particular skill on a Greek beach!! I am also signed up to a class exploring spinning techniques for luxury fibres. If you fancy taking a look at what else is happening at Fibre East this summer, take a look at the website. I just need to knit up the yarn I bought last year now!! Simple! Only 180 days to go! Here's hoping for more knitting time this week. xxx

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Galloping ahead on the sewing front!

Goodness, hasn't it been chilly this weekend? We even had a few flurries of snow on Saturday morning. Thankfully, nothing settled for long, but the biting wind has hung on.

first snow of 2015 (10)

The gnomes (yes, I did say gnomes! They appear to have multiplied since this blog post!) will no doubt be demanding scarves if the cold weather continues!! 

first snow of 2015 (7)

The snow gave a festive feel to the day, added to by the fact that we were dining chez Snoopydog in the evening, and exchanging Christmas gifts. Snoopydog gave me a gorgeous bag from ThreeBagsFull, a skein of yarn from the Kettle Yarn Company and a really useful book packed full of sewing know-how. The print on the bag is such fun, I want to get my pens out and do some more colouring! 

xmas gifts from snoops (1)

The sewing book is excellent and just what I need to fill in lots of gaps in my knowledge. I have done a number of classes in Norwich, and have really enjoyed each one. I'd like to spend more time practising my new skills and this book is perfect to refer to. On Saturday I did a quilted patchwork class. To start with, we had to choose a combination of fabric patches and piece them together on some interlining. I went for some quite muted greeny-blue fabrics and decided to quilt in a green thread. 

machine quilting workshop (2)

machine quilting workshop (3)

The fabric pieces are joined and quilted one at a time. I experimented a little with the stitches and eventually settled on a straight stitch and a wavy stitch. I am really delighted with how it's turned out, and have some fabric cut ready for making it into a cushion. (Hopefully next weekend!) Here's the quilted panel........

quilt as you go patchwork cushion top (2)

quilt as you go patchwork cushion top (4)

quilt as you go patchwork cushion top (1)

quilt as you go patchwork cushion top (3)

I finished a pair of socks over the holidays. I had test knitted the first one way back last summer, but put its partner on the back burner until recently. The pattern is the Pink Pony Sock designed by Kim Swingle. I love the braided cable up the back of the leg. Of course, you would be disappointed if Flo hadn't made an appearance during the photoshoot, wouldn't you?!

Pink Pony socks (5)

Pink Pony sock WIP (8)

A plain vanilla sock has taken its place as my 'no-brainer' knitting, now that school has begun. I have also started a jumper for Mr JK. It's in a chunky yarn, so in theory, I might get it finished this winter. We'll see! Added to that, an Attic24 crochet blanket is calling out to me. Will I succumb to hooky temptations this week? Come back next weekend to find out! xxxx

Friday, 9 January 2015

It was inevitable ........

I finished my cushion this week. Last November, I spun up a braid of rainbow Corriedale fibre from Woolfest. The fibre, from EasyKnits, was one of my few purchases there. The colours just called out to me; I don't know what it is about rainbow colours. They get me every time!

spin a rainbow (1)

I knew that I wanted it to be a cushion, so started knitting a panel based on a knitspot pattern. Although I loved how it looked, it was much too small to be a usable cushion. See for yourself.

rainbow stripes (2)

So into the frogging pond it went while I began the search for something else. I had favourited these socks on Ravelry some time earlier - I like the contrast of the black with the bright colours. The cogs starting whirring in my head as I thought about how I could use this idea with my yarn. I had a skein of Malabrigo worsted yarn in black, left over from a football scarf for Mr JK. The Wurm pattern was another pattern I liked, and so I used it to cast on. Initially I thought about knitting a cheerful cowl, but changed my mind part way through and went back to the original cushion plan. You can read more about the changes I made as I went along on my project page if you're interested. I used some bright buttons to close the flap and I have to say that I am really pleased with how it turned out. It has given my the idea of perhaps using some of my other handspun yarn to knit cushion covers too.

Wurmy rainbow cushion (2)

Wurmy rainbow cushion (10)

Wurmy rainbow cushion (8)

Wurmy rainbow cushion (5)

Wurmy rainbow cushion (9)

I put it on the floor to take some more photos. Big. Mistake!

Wurmy rainbow cushion (13)

Wurmy rainbow cushion (14)

Wurmy rainbow cushion (19)

Sigh! What's mine is Flo's, I guess! At least I know it's nice and squishy! Pop back soon for some more finished knitting! xxx

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Goodbye 2014 - and Hello 2015!

It's New Year's Eve, time for my look back at what I've made over the past year, and to see if I came close to keeping any of my knitting resolutions. It hasn't felt like a particularly productive year, but when I looked on Ravelry, I was astonished to see that I have completed around 50 separate projects in the last 12 months. Admittedly, many of them are teensy tiny ones, but even so, that's almost one a week! It's pretty impossible to pick a favourite, but if pushed, I think I would choose the block I knit as my contribution to a wedding blanket for my dear friend Kim. A group of around 30 knitters schemed and plotted in secret and the result was a beautiful wedding gift. Of course, Florence wanted in on the photo shoot! You can read the blog post Anne wrote about the blanket here and watch the YouTube film made when Anne gave the blanket to Kim here.

I'm really excited that Anne is releasing the pattern to knit this beautiful blanket in 2015. So if you fancy knitting your own version, why not join me? Sign ups are still open, and you can choose to knit it in one of the beautiful BareNaked yarns available from knitspot, or you could go pattern only. Take a look here, it would be great to have your company.

OK then, time to look at my knitting goals for 2014. How many of them did I achieve, I wonder?!

1. To knit from stash as much as possible. 
Although lots of yarn has appeared in my stash this year, the vast majority of it has come as gifts or through swaps. I did have a major splurge at Fibre East, but apart from that, not a lot else!! I'm feeling very virtuous, perhaps I need to treat myself to a skein or two before the year is out?!!

2. To spin more regularly and enter something into Fibre East or one of my local guild competitions. 
I haven't spun anywhere near as much as I had hoped to, but I did enter some skeins of handspun yarn in to the spinning competitions at Fibre East this year and was amazed to be awarded some prizes. The judges' comments were extremely helpful and I shall definitely be entering again next summer.

Fibre East 2014 day 2 (2)

3. To knit at least one jumper for myself.
I did finish two sweaters for myself - my mink and cashmere sweater that Flo wanted as a blankie for herself...........

sweater seaming step 1 003

...... and Vodka Lemonade, which I have worn endlessly this year.

Bank Holiday Monday 020

4. To carry on designing.
I have dabbled a little more with some designing, but nothing has been published yet. I have a cowl pattern in the pipeline.......

jk cowl (2) well as a pair of socks.

jk socks (4)

I also have a crochet pattern for a tape measure cosy!!

Tape measure cosy for Josee (1)

5. To try some colourwork.
Oh dear, yet another year has passed without me even getting close to achieving this goal. I think that I will have to look out for a class at Fibre East in the summer to give me a kick start. 

6. To finish the 64 Crayons blanket.
Yay, job done!! I cannot begin to tell you just how much I love this blanket. It's on the sofa in the lounge and everyone (including Flo!) wants a share.

64 Crayons done! (10)

mine, all mine! (2)

So what of 2015? I have the feeling that my goals will be pretty similar to previous years.

1. To knit from stash as much as possible.
2. To spin regularly and try to attend some guild meetings, as well as enter some handspun yarn into the spinning competitions at Fibre East.
3. To write up and publish my knitting and crochet patterns.
4. To try some colourwork!
5. To finish projects that are currently hibernating on Ravelry.
6. To improve my sewing skills.

So, that's almost it. Just enough time to say a huge thank you to you, for reading my blog. I do love reading your comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave me a message. I hope that 2015 is a happy and healthy year for you and your nearest and dearest. See you next year! xxx

Tuesday, 30 December 2014


Goodness, it's been freezing here the past couple of days! I suppose it feels all the colder because we've had such a mild year, but the car has been iced up each morning and the temperatures have hovered just above freezing point for most of the day. I hope, for Mr JK's sake, that it's a little warmer come New Year's Day, as he will be off for a Park Run. We both went  on Christmas Day - him to run and me to cheer him on. He donned a Santa hat for the occasion, but some of the runners had really taken their outfits seriously. (I have forbidden Mr JK to even consider buying himself a morphsuit!!!) 

Despite being on holiday, I don't seem to have had a huge amount of time to do anything crafty. I had big plans to knit, sew, spin and crochet, but my efforts have been quite pitiful. I am trying to get some projects finished before starting anything new. It is so easy to be distracted by shiny, new projects!! 

The garden looked beautiful this morning, covered in ice. Flo accompanied me outside while I was snapping away, but complained the whole time that her paws had frostbite!!

on a cold and frosty morning (1)

on a cold and frosty morning (5)

on a cold and frosty morning (9)

on a cold and frosty morning (8)

on a cold and frosty morning (4)

on a cold and frosty morning (10)

on a cold and frosty morning (3)

on a cold and frosty morning (7)

I'll be blogging again tomorrow when I look back over 2014 and look forward to 2015. Hope you can pop in. Keep warm too! xxx