Monday, 1 September 2014

Just chilling......


.......yes, that's exactly what Mr JK and I have spent the last week doing. It has been total a total chill out in Ireland. We stayed  in Kenmare, County Kerry again. The south west coast of Ireland is particularly lovely and we were keen to revisit some of our favourite places. Despite the somewhat unseasonal weather, we went out and about every day. We spent one day in the Killarney National Park, stopping en route to enjoy the vista at Ladies View, so called because of the pleasure the sights gave to Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting.



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As well as going on a tour of Muckross House, we also went on the farm trail, looking at what it was like to live and work on a farm in the 1930's. A simple, but hard life is the conclusion we came to.


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One afternoon we went on a Seafari down the bay at Kenmare, in search of seals and sea eagles. The eagles were not playing ball that afternoon, and the seals were also quite shy - apparently a motor boat had been racing down the bay earlier and scared them off the rocks. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon however, and I think you will agree that the views were amazing! (You will have to indulge me with my photos - my new camera has a 'panorama' setting, and I had fun playing around with it!)


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Our favourite day was spent firstly on Garinish Island; this was our third visit to the island and it definitely won't be our last! The gardens there are just beautiful, and even though you cross from the mainland with other visitors, the chances are that as you are walking around, you won't bump into anyone else at all! It really is one of the most peaceful places to go to. The Italian garden is stunning.


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Plenty to feast your eyes on around every twist and turn of the path. The walled garden is currently being renovated, it will be interesting to see it again in a couple of years.


Garinish Island


We saw seals again as we were crossing over to the island - these were braver and didn't bother to go into the water as we approached. They must be used to the little boats going back and forth each day.


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Afterwards, we drove around the Mizen Head peninsula, stopping off at Crookhaven for a lunch and a walk on the beach .......


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We then went to Barley Cove, a truly stunning beach that you reach via a floating walkway. 


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It was pretty windy, and despite the lifeguard's red flag, someone was crazy enough to be trying to swim. These photos show the beach from different views......


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We drove on to the Mizen Head lighthouse. Last time we came, it was closed because the bridge was being rebuilt. It was pretty rickety, so we were very pleased to see something far more substantial, especially given how windy it was while we were there. Seeing the waves pounding against the rocks, you get some idea just how powerful the sea is and how treacherous it can be. The number of ships that have been wrecked in this area bears testament to that.


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On our last day, we drove part of the way around the Ring of Kerry, as far as Derrynane House, the ancestral home of one of Ireland's heroes, Daniel O'Connell. He apparently loved to come down here to escape the bustle of both London and Dublin. No mean feat when you consider what the roads must have been like back then. But the tranquillity of his surroundings must surely have been so soothing. We walked down to Derrynane beach, and although the weather was rather dull, it was still wonderful.


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There was plenty of knitting, which I will share with you in another post.


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There was also a LOT of cake munching!! I could indeed make a whole cake mosaic for you, but since I don't want to show what little piggies Mr JK and I were, I will just share my favourite cake of the week!! A slice of coffee cake, enjoyed with a cup of tea at the Mizen Head. And now I shall love and leave you. I need to get my head around the fact that it's school tomorrow! Where did the holidays go?! See you soon. xxx

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Friday, 22 August 2014

Late summer holiday......


........ to Ireland! We both love the Emerald Isle and are revisiting the west coast of County Cork. In the meantime, we're leaving this little person in charge chez josiekitten!! See you in a week or so, to be sure! xxx


Seamus

Monday, 18 August 2014

Sew much fun!


I have been busy sewing as well as knitting and crocheting this holiday; I am not an experienced sewer (why does that word look sooooooo wrong?!) so I was delighted to discover that there is somewhere right on my doorstep that runs a wide variety of sewing classes. The Makeplace in Norwich is terrific - a wonderful, light and airy space in which to learn, with a 'bulging at the seams' fabric shop a couple of doors down the road. I've taken classes there before to learn needle felting and free motion machine stitching, and decided to take a couple of different classes over the summer holidays.

The first class was making a zipped bag. You all know just how much I like bags for keeping my projects in! Now a chance to make my own!! The first bag I made was the little one with the fun bird print fabric. I decided to use some ric-rac on one side (if I'd put it on the back as well, I'd have had to be super-careful about matching seams and patterns!) I actually made this bag when I took the class last year, but I left it so long before trying to make another bag, that I couldn't remember what to do!! So when I spotted that the class was running again, I jumped at the chance to book a place! This time I made the pink and green bird bag - I love this bold print, don't you? When I got home, I thought that it would be a good idea to make another bag straight away so that I'd remember what to do for future bags. After a few technical hitches, such as discovering that my sewing machine didn't have a zipper foot, and then not being able to fix it on without Mr JK's assistance, I sailed through the third bag, using a batik fabric. I've made this bag for my friend Diane to keep her crochet projects in.


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Here's a closer look at each of the bags .......


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My head is already buzzing with possible fabric combinations for future bags after rummaging around in my small (but growing) stash of fabrics! Which of these do you like the best?!


Bag possibilities!


The other class that I took was a crazy patchwork class, designed to use up all kinds of oddments of fabric. After selecting a variety of fabric scraps, we set about fixing them to a backing panel, one piece at a time. It's a very clever way of doing patchwork, using a sewing machine. I used an overlocker to neaten the edges and will eventually turn my panel into the front of a cushion cover (I'll probably need to do another class for that!!)


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I love how some of the different prints look together.......


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There just aren't enough hours in the day to do all the crafty things I'd like. Roll on retirement!!! xxx

Sunday, 17 August 2014

All coloured in!


My 64 Crayon blanket is finished at long last!! I checked on my Ravelry page and I actually started it on January 1st 2013, so it's been a long time in the making. It was a skein of Noro yarn that got me back into knitting again and I have been acquiring balls of Noro Silk Garden for the last few years. Some have come as souvenirs from as far afield as Canada and Dublin! This pattern was the perfect way to use them all up and show off the beautiful colours of the yarn. I ended up knitting 4 narrow strips and 3 wide strips. I did a crochet border once I'd put all the strips together - 4 rounds of double crochet, and I'm happy with the way it finishes the blanket off. So without further ado, let me present to you my gorgeous 64 Crayons blanket!


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I bet you're wondering where Flo is aren't you?! She's not normally one to miss out on a photo opportunity with a blanket, but she was fast asleep inside her furry igloo and didn't even notice that I was outside! (The light patches on the blanket are where the sunlight was coming through the leaves on the tree behind the bench!)


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Here are some of my favourite colour combinations............


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I cannot begin to tell you just how much I love this blanket! It is going to live on the sofa in the living room. I reckon I'm going to have to fight Mr JK and Flo for it tho'!! It'll be the perfect blanket for snuggling under this autumn. I might just be willing to share! xxx

Friday, 15 August 2014

Ends in sight!



64 Crayons ends in sight!


I have a mini-mountain of Silk Garden ends which can only mean one thing - 64 Crayons is finished!! Woo hoo! Call back soon to see just how beautiful this blanket is. xxx

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Playing hooky down in Devon


Oh I've had such a lovely weekend! I went down to Devon to stay with an old friend from my time at University and we spent our days visiting National Trust properties, dodging the downpours and having some yarny fun with crochet hooks! 

The first property we visited was Knightshayes, a Victorian Gothic house. The house was built by the Amory family, whose ancestors invented the mechanised bobbin lace making machine. In fact, the factory was moved down from Loughborough to Tiverton in 1816 after it was destroyed by Luddites, and many of the factory workers walked from Loughborough to Devon to continue working for the family. 


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There were beautiful gardens to explore as well as woodland to walk through. The walled garden was enormous, and bursting with produce.


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The other property we visited was Killerton. As well as the house and grounds, there's a costume collection there and I spotted this knitted wedding dress!


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The National Trust had worked with local schools on a project connected with World War 1, finding out about the impact of the Great War on villagers and there was a very moving display of poppies made by the children, each one remembering a villager killed during that time. Quite shocking to see the number of dead from just four small villages in Devon.


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In between times, I taught Diane how to crochet! We both knitted while we were at Uni, but she had never tried crocheting before. Well, she was a natural and managed to master the basic stitches to produce some flowers and granny squares. Ta dah!! By the time I got back home to Norfolk, she'd emailed me a photo of her next square!! I love the fact that I've taught someone a new craft to enjoy.


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And of course, I didn't let you down! We enjoyed a delicious cream tea on Sunday afternoon - freshly baked scones, Devonshire clotted cream and blackcurrant curd from the National Trust shop. It's really yummy and I'm going to call in at our local NT shop to buy a pot for Mr JK's birthday tea on Sunday! xxx


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