Sunday, 19 November 2017

And then there was some knitting (and sewing!)


Evening! Thanks for calling in. I wouldn't get too close if I were you though as I have a filthy cough and cold and I'd hate to pass on my lurgy to you. So please retreat to a safe distance and I'll chat with you from here. I hope you don't mind the faint aroma of Vicks Vapour Rub too! It was only a matter of time before I succumbed to the germs circulating around school, but I'm hoping that this means I won't get another cold this side of Christmas (which is scarily only 5 weeks away! How did that happen?!)

Since I've mentioned Christmas, let me share with you the bunting that I've made so far. It's from a printed panel and is a lovely Scandinavian design. Here's the whole panel - there are 33 flags in total and I chose to pick out all the grey ones and some red to make two strings for some friends. 












I'm really pleased with how it looks. I have backed each flag with red sheeting to get maximum use from the printed flags. I'll be making more over the coming weeks, both for myself and as presents. 

And even more excitement, I have finished a pair of socks and am not too far off finishing another pair. Woohoo! My 'Running for Rowley' socks, begun when I travelled up to Tyneside for the Great North Run, and also knit on in Yorkshire and Amsterdam, are done and dusted! The yarn was a ball that Mr JK bought for me in Delft and I love the marled rainbow effect. These socks are going to get lots of love...







My Squeezebox socks will soon be done - they'll be my knitting project after dinner this evening. The yarn is a Debbie Bliss sock yarn and I'm a little worried that it might felt.The colours are lovely so I will have to be careful about how I wash them. They look like they're matching up pretty well - I'm sure that was completely by chance as I usually don't bother with that kind of thing!





I received a rather lovely squishy parcel from Stylecraft this week. They have just added some new yarns to their Batik range - Batik Swirl. I was actually at the mill last Easter when they were putting together various colour possibilities so it's exciting to see the end product. Each yarn cake is 200g and contains a number of colours from the Batik range. 




I have three cakes of Foxglove and I really like how the colours blend so well together. Batik is a great yarn to work with, the 20% wool gives it a very cosy and cushy feel. I'm pondering what my yarn might become and also whether I might add in some extra colours if I decide on a blanket. What do you think?







I will love you and leave you now as I'm actually feeling pretty ropy and ready to crash out on the sofa for the evening. Don't forget to enter my November giveaway here to be in with a chance of winning some festive stitch markers! xxx

Monday, 13 November 2017

Distractions


I have tried to concentrate on my WIPs, honestly, but I may have been distracted just the teensiest bit by a shiny new project! I'm sticking the blame firmly in your court as you clearly haven't been nagging me enough! I have almost finished a pair of socks - just the toe shaping to go - so I will have at least one finished project to share with you very soon, I promise!

So what's caught my attention? Nothing yarny, so at least I can hold my head up and say that I haven't started any new woolly projects! This involves fabric, so is entirely ok! When I was in Norwich with Snoopydog last weekend, we popped into John Lewis as Snoops wanted to get some felt to make a Christmas stocking for her grandson. I was browsing the fabrics when I spotted some rather gorgeous Scandinavian style bunting - each flag separate on a panel of fabric. And even better, each panel was half price at only £7. There were an amazing 33 flags in one pattern panel and the assistant recommended backing each flag in a red sheeting fabric to maximise the number of flags. So far, I've cut out all the flags and hope to sew them together during the week. I'm thinking that they will bring a festive air to my hallway this December. 




It's been getting colder this week and I had to scrape my windscreen one morning. The pattern of ice was beautiful though - there's probably a lace knitting pattern out there somewhere which mimics it!




Today I had a very invigorating walk along Wells beach with my friend Jules and her dog. Benny absolutely loved it on the sand, even though the wind was whipping it up and sandblasting everything in sight. It was the perfect way to blow away some rather gloomy cobwebs that have been hanging around this week.











The sky was very threatening and we were lucky to escape most of the rain! But the wind was strong as you can see from the way it whipped up the sand on the beach. Great fun to be out in and we laughed so much at Benny's antics that it didn't spoil things one little bit! I hope you've done something this weekend that's brought a smile to your face too. xxx




PS Don't forget that there's still time to enter my November giveaway here

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Winners and another giveaway to get you jingling your way into December!


In an attempt to be organised, I've actually managed to pick the winners from last month's giveaway and sort out another prize for November's Pay it Forward giveaway. I know, get me! I wrote down all the names of everyone who entered via my blog, Facebook and Instagram on separate pieces of paper and then mixed them up in a bowl! All very scientific! Two names were selected at random and I'm very pleased to announce the two winners of the Stylecraft Candy Swirl yarn cakes.

Winner of the gorgeous purple 'Sugar Plum' is Gill Moore from her Facebook entry...




and the winner of the cake of 'Blueberry Gum' is Ourtimenow84 from her Instagram entry.




Congratulations to both winners. I'll be getting in touch with you to get your details. Thank you everyone for entering and if you didn't win, perhaps you'll be luckier with this month's prize. I have a set of festive jingly bell stitch markers from the fabulous Fripperies and Bibelots




They are guaranteed to get you feeling all Christmassy as you finish up your gift knits next month. If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is to leave me a comment on my blog, telling me what your favourite part of Christmas is. The giveaway will stay open until midnight on November 30th and after that time I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner. Please make sure that it's easy for me to get in touch with you by leaving your Ravelry or Instagram name or some other way for me to contact you should you be the winner. If I haven't heard from the winner after a week, I'll pick another winner. The giveaway is open to you wherever you live, so please do enter! Good luck! xxx

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Taking stock


I've been sorting through the pile of WIPs sat in a mountain by the side of the sofa and been ruthless. Anything that didn't really grab me has been frogged and I am left with several projects that I. Must. Finish. before I can allow myself to start anything new. So I thought that if I shared them with you all, then you might hold me accountable and nag me (nicely, of course) if my attention dares to wander and be tempted by anything else! So let me introduce to you my pile of WIPs:

Exhibit A  - the Granny squares that I crocheted using the Opal mini balls of sock yarn from last year's Advent calendar. I want to join them in white and then make a cushion cover from them. And given that next year's Advent calendar is sitting ready and waiting for December 1st, I need to get a wiggle on. 




Exhibit B - the socks that I started knitting from last year's Advent calendar yarn. There will be 24 new balls before I know it to knit this year's socks. 'Nuff said!




Exhibit C - I started knitting this using some yarn that I'd been making a sweater for Mr JK from soon after he died last year. I'm over half way, so it should be plain sailing, as long as I was really sensible and marked where I'd got to on the pattern. It will be like having a hug from Mr JK when I wear it, so I really want to get it done and dusted.




Exhibit D - my Midnight Companion Granny Square blanket. I started this when I was having trouble sleeping last year and found the repetitiveness of the crochet very soothing. I finished all the crochet a long time ago. But do you see all those pesky ends? I suppose I could leave them as a design feature and say it's an unusual fringe! Let this be a lesson to you all - sew in the ends as you go!




Exhibit E - my Squeezebox socks. I started these in May 2016 so they have no business to still be WIPs. And I'm over half way too, so the end is in sight. Must. Knit. Faster.




Exhibit F - another pair of socks half done. I knit this the summer before last when Stylecraft first launched their new Head over Heels sock yarn and I was playing around with stitch patterns. This pattern hasn't been written up yet, but I really should knit the second sock. I never thought that I suffered from SSS (Second Sock Syndrome) before, but I'm starting to have my doubts now. 




Exhibit G - my Running for Rowley socks. This is a relatively young WIP, only a matter of weeks old in fact! I wanted to knit a pair of socks while I was at the Great North Run and York to have as a special memory pair of my running. The yarn was one that Mr JK bought for me on our last visit to Delft. I was on a yarn diet at the time but that didn't stop him from buying it! He bought one in shades of blue which reminded me of the Delft pottery and I was planning to knit him a pair of socks from that one. I love the colours in this yarn and they will remind me that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.




So there, your honour, are my WIPs. I promise that I will not start anything new until these have all been completed. And if I should be tempted to stray, you all have permission to tell me off and wag your finger at me in a teachery way! I'll report back next week on my progress.

Thank you for all the slipper sock love yesterday. I'm thrilled that so many of you seem to like my pattern. It's a really fun one to knit and because it's using DK wool, it knits up fast! Thank you too to those of you who very generously made a donation to my JustGiving page. It's getting close to £4000 now which is just amazing! In case you missed it yesterday, here's another photo of my Bee Cosy Slipper Socks.




And just before I say bye for now, as it's National Cat Day and it was also Black Cat Appreciation day earlier this week, I feel it's only fitting to share a couple of photos of my best girl Flo. She is such a darling and I love her to bits. xxx







Saturday, 28 October 2017

Stylecraft Blogtour 2017 - Bee Cosy Slipper Socks


Hello lovely people and welcome to my woolly corner of the world. If it's your first time calling in, do have a wander around and get to know me a little better. If you're a regular visitor, thanks for popping by again. It's my great pleasure to be hosting the Stylecraft Blog Tour 2017 today. I've been following the Tour each day and have loved seeing all the incredible projects that my talented fellow Blogstars have designed. In case you've missed seeing any of this year's designs, here's a list of all the blogs so far:- 


This year, we're working with Stylecraft Batik yarn and the new Batik Elements range. I really love knitting with the Batik yarn - it's a DK weight, 80% acrylic and 20% wool, making a gorgeously springy and cosy yarn. The Batik Elements comes in eight variegated colourways...


Batik Elements top row l-r Mercury, Sulphur, Krypton, Bismuth
bottom row l-r Copper, Platinum, Iron, Phosphorus

and these eight new shades blend beautifully with the more solid colours in the range...




Stylecraft chose four of the Batik Elements yarns and put together four different yarn packs. Each one contains four balls of the Batik Elements yarn and six complementary balls of Batik yarn. When we were up at the Mill in July, we each chose our favourite pack to work with. Country Garden was the pack that called out to me. 




I brought my pack home with me, wound some yarn pegs and just let the yarn sit there on the table, deciding what it wanted to be. 






As the nights started drawing in and the evenings became a little cooler, the idea of making some lovely snugly slipper socks began to emerge. I'm sure I can't be the only one who likes to come home from work and get changed into pyjamas for the evening, before cosying down on the sofa with a mug of tea and a book to read or some knitting. It goes without saying of course that I'll be sharing my lap with Flo and more than likely there will be candles lit too. The perfect way to relax and unwind. 

So without further ado, let me present to you my Bee Cosy Slipper Socks. I love how the colours of the hexagons of Batik pop with the ridges of the Batik Elements in between! The whole leg just makes me smile a lot! The pattern is really easy and uses slip stitches to create the hexagonal honeycomb effect. There are lots of possibilities to play around with the colours too. I chose to use the Batik yarns just down the leg and knit the rest of the sock using the Elements yarn. But you could knit the cuff, heel flap and toe in the Elements and continue the colour stripes down the foot too, just knitting in the round rather than following the slip stitch pattern. There's plenty of yarn to make two or three pairs of slipper socks too so you can knit them for family and friends, as well as a pair for yourself of course!












If you have a lot of laminate or tiled floors in your home, you might want to use some 'Sock Stop' on the sole of each slipper sock to give a bit more grip. I bought a bottle from Amazon and it comes in lots of different colours. You simply put some card inside the sock to prevent the Sock Stop from spreading to any other part of the sock and then draw some lines and ridges on the sole. I haven't done it on mine as my house is mostly carpeted and I don't intend to do any Torvill and Dean impersonations if I can help it!




The pattern, in two sizes, is available for free on Ravelry here, but if you would like to make a donation to my JustGiving page to raise money for the British Heart Foundation in memory of my lovely Mr JK, I would be over the moon! There is no need to donate, it's entirely up to you. The pattern is free for you to enjoy. 

And a modelled photo courtesy of my friend Sarah, who also obliged by wearing her pjs! I think this could be the start of a great modelling career, don't you? Thanks Sarah! 




The lovely people at Stylecraft have a yarn pack to give away today so you can knit your own slipper socks. All you have to do is follow the link here. The competition starts at 10am today (28th October) and runs for 24 hours. It's open to anyone, anywhere, so please do enter and you might be the lucky winner! Good luck and may the knitting gods and goddesses be ever in your favour! Tomorrow, the Blogtour heads up to Yorkshire to visit Kathryn at Crafternoon Treats and I happen to know that she's been hooking something rather splendid for you. Make sure you check it out. xxx