Sunday, 26 February 2012


We've had some unseasonably warm weather this week, with the temperature getting up as high as 17 degrees Celsius! Crazy times! Yesterday morning the sky was blue and the sun was shining, so Mr JK and I headed out along the North Norfolk coast to one of our favourite beaches, Holkham. If you've ever seen the film 'Shakespeare in Love', it's Holkham beach that Gwyneth Paltrow is walking along at the end of the film.
To get to the beach, you have to walk through the pinewoods.
Holkham Feb 2012 001
This is the sight that greets you once you are through the woods. Isn't it beautiful?
Holkham Feb 2012 004
A steady stream of people - families with young children, dog walkers and 'twitchers' make their way across the sand towards the water's edge. The beach is backed by dunes which provide useful shelter on windy days.
Holkham Feb 2012 009
Just look at the lovely patterns made by the sea.
Holkham Feb 2012 008
Because the beach is so huge, you get a sense of freedom - and the glorious big Norfolk skies! 
Holkham Feb 2012 010
You begin to wonder if you will ever reach the seashore .......
Holkham Feb 2012 014
The wind blows the sand across the surface of the beach in a ghostly cloud ......
Holkham Feb 2012 016
.....until at last you arrive at the water's edge.
Holkham Feb 2012 025
Snuggled up in handknits, there's no way the cold can get in!!
Holkham Feb 2012 031
Looking back from where you started, you wonder how long it will take you to get back to the car .....
Holkham Feb 2012 034
....and get to the pub, where a hearty, warming lunch awaits you!
Holkham Feb 2012 035
(Country beef pies, just in case you were wondering!! Mighty tasty they were too!)
I have found time to knit and spin too! I have fallen in love with some fibre. I recently joined Picperfic's fibre club, and received my first parcel of fibre a couple of weeks ago. The fibre is a beautifully blended mixture of 75% superwash merino and 25% seacell, and feels incredibly soft and silky. Marianne calls this mix of fibres 'Coast', and the club colourway is 'Cromer'.
Coast - Cromer 001
It was an absolute delight to spin, as it drafted so easily. I split the fibre down the middle and spun each half, to get two (hopefully identical) colour repeats through the yarn.
Coast - Cromer 014
I Navajo-plied the yarn to try to keep all the beautiful soft colours together, and ended up with a skein of a heavyish fingering weight yarn, around 270 metres. There ought to be enough to make a shawlette with it. (Sorry Flo, there's NOT enough for a blankie, despite all your efforts!!)
Coast 'Cromer' handspun 003
I loved spinning this fibre so much that when I saw some more in Marianne's shop, I snaffled it pretty quickly. On the left is the colourway 'midnight', with 'greenious' on the right. Mmmmmmm!
Coast Fluff'n'Stuff 003
I have lots more to share with you, but I think that it will have to wait for another day! Pop back soon to see what's currently on the needles. In the meantime, have a good week! xxx

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Blankie needed!

Dear Mum,
I'm sure that you realise by now just how much I love knitted things. I've tried to show you by jumping on your lap to see what you're knitting at every opportunity. I wrap myself round your neck when you're wearing a knitted sweater too.
Flo does her parrot act! (1)
I love this sweater so much that I even try to sleep on it when it's in the laundry basket!
Flo in a basket (2)
Every chance I get, I get comfy on your knitting......
flo's new blankie (2)
I love to sleep on Elsie's knitted blankie (even though it is acrylic!!)
Flo gets cosy 021
But what I would like most of all is my own special hand knitted blankie. I think that I've even found the perfect yarn for it. You see, I've taken a bit of a fancy to a skein of your handspun yarn. I did check to make sure that it's superwash - and it is! I think it will show off my beautiful silky black coat so well, don't you?!
Flo likes yarn (1)
So what do you say Mum? Do you love me enough to knit me my very own, extra special, warm and cosy blanket. If you do, I promise I'll leave your knitting alone! I really will.
Lots of love and purrs,
Flo xxxxxxxxxxxx
basking Flo (4)

Friday, 17 February 2012

The joy of socks!

I've been going sock crazy here recently! I just finished a pair of Roger socks, knit in an Old Maiden Aunt yarn that I bought last summer at Knit Nation. I've already knit this pattern before, and loved it, so when I was looking to knit a pair of socks as a present, I didn't have far to look!  Florence was inspecting them this morning - I think she approves!
Royal Roger socks (3)
The second pair of socks is hot off the needles. I finished them yesterday while I was at my dear friend Snoopydog's house. We met up for a natter and while we were chatting, we managed to munch our way through some sheepy gingerbread biscuits.
Sheepy munchies (2)
Snoopydog was under strict instructions not to talk to me while I was grafting the toe, and after lunch we had a mini photoshoot in her garden. You can just see Oscar sneaking into the corner of the photo!
Basketweave socks 010
I know that lots of you are also visitors at Snoopydog's blog, so here's a picture of Oscar, just for you! He was very calm and well behaved yesterday, which was great news for me, as I'm not really a dog person!
Oscar (8)
See you very soon! xxx

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Happy Spinniversary to me!

I find it hard to believe that it's a whole year since I went on my spinning weekend to Blackpool. It was during that weekend that I think that I became a 'real' spinner. My confidence grew, and I got to know my spinning wheel a lot better. It seems a lifetime ago when I first went to my LYS  to have a try at spinning. I was fairly disappointed with my efforts, and was pretty sure that spinning was NOT for me!!
spinning day 007
I had another try about a year later and got on a little better. Mr JK persuaded me to get a spinning wheel, so I decided to buy an Ashford Traveller, as that was the wheel I'd used in the yarn shop. Despite assembling the wheel fairly quickly, I'm ashamed to say that it sat idle for the best part of a year. I was scared to use it and fail! In the meantime, I'm sure that you won't be surprised to hear that I began to accumulate  fibre! One day I noticed a small ad in the back of a knitting magazine, advertising a spinning weekend in Blackpool. The course was being run by Victoria Magnus of Eden Cottage Yarns. I 'knew' Vikki through the Phoenix Knitting Forum, and had bought some of her yarn in the past, so I got in touch to find out more details. The prerequisite was being able to spin a fairly consistent single, so I knew what I had to do! I dug out some fibre and had a go!
first handspun from roving (2)
I was over the moon with my efforts! I had a couple more tries before the weekend, and set off on the long drive from Norfolk to Blackpool with a few butterflies in my tummy!
Vikki was a great teacher, so full of encouragement, and I could see my spinning improving from the word go! I learnt different ways to ply yarn, made my own batt of fibre, and also did some corespinning. I returned to Norfolk full of enthusiasm for my new hobby!
spinning weekend 021
And so my spinning journey had begun. Since then, I have tried to spin every week, and continue to see improvements. My stash of fibre has grown!! Some of my favourite fibre suppliers are Picperfic's Fluff-n-Stuff,
Happy Christmas fibre (1)
fibre stash 004
The Thylacine
greeny-blue fibre (2)
and FeltStudioUK.
fibre stash 007
I've spun a number of different fibres, including Bluefaced Leicester, merino, alpaca and blends including silk, cashmere and seacell. I've become more proficient at Navajo-plying thanks to this great video. I have recently found out about fractal spinning too. I also took part in the Tour de Fleece and won a prize! So what next? Well, I'd like to try spinning different fibre blends, be able to spin some laceweight yarn, spin enough yardage to knit some socks, and ........... the list goes on!! I'll say goodbye and leave you with another look at some of the yarns I've spun over the last 12 months. I'm looking forward to the new spinning year very much. Make sure you call back to find out how I'm getting on! See you very soon! xxx
2011 - spinning year

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Keeping warm

When you wake up to this ......
February 2012 snowfall
there's not much that you can do except light the fire, get cooking and make sure that there is a plentiful supply of yarn! It's been bitterly cold for the last few days, and the snow actually arrived as predicted for once! Often, being on the coast, it seems to miss us out. Florence had the right idea anyway, and could either be found toasting herself in front of the woodburner or snuggled up in her basket. Her squeaky Santa is never far from her side!
Flo (7)
Mr JK busied himself in the kitchen and made a huge pot of lamb and Guinness soup, and we ate a bowl for lunch, accompanied by some delicious soda bread. Mmmmmmmm.
lamb and Guinness soup 001
I have been working on the second Roger sock this week, and am almost at the heel. Alongside that, the first sleeve from my Rene sweater is finished, and I've been knitting a scarf for me to wear when I go and watch Norwich City playing football. I knit Mr JK a scarf and hat for Christmas. I'm not sure that I ever got round to blogging them. The scarf curled in rather annoyingly, despite a garter stitch border, so I ended up backing it with black fleece. That has done the trick and Mr JK wore it to the match yesterday, and reported back that it kept him toasty warm. I had to sew in the fleece by hand as it was too thick to fit under my sewing machine.
Mr JK's footie scarf, lined (3)
My scarf is quite a labour-intensive affair, being knit in linen stitch. It's knit lengthways, so I have cast on 400 stitches and hope that it'll be long enough! I probably should have knit a swatch, but hey ho! I do like the effect the three colours have together - it almost looks like it's woven. I think I'm just over one third of the way across now, and will probably add a fringe once it's all done.
Linen stitch Canaries scarf WIP 001
I plied the yarn that I'd spun too - I Navajo-plied it to retain the long colour changes and have about 230 metres of yarn. I do have another braid of the exact same fibre, so will probably spin that one up to have a greater yardage for a project. The colours are just gorgeous!
Fluff'n'Stuff Darling Molly
In the meantime, I have started spinning some BFL fibre that I received in a swap from Julia in Germany. The fibre is really multicoloured, so I have decided to spin it as two singles and then ply it together to get a tweedyish mix.
Zauberweise BFL fibre spin in progress (1)
I'm going to say goodbye for today and get myself camped down on the sofa for the evening. We are going to have toasted fruit buns for tea, and I can't wait. Why not? Well just feast your eyes on this lovely fruity lot! We made 8 jars of blackcurrant jam this afternoon, using blackcurrants from the freezer. Yummy! Have a good week! xxx
blackcurrant jam