Sunday, 24 March 2013

A nice cup of Earl Grey Breakfast Blend

Earl Grey Roger socks (13)

Mmmmmmmmmmm! Doesn't that look delicious? Wanna know what it is? Of course you do! It's one of a very new range of yarns from my favourite designer, Anne Hanson, aka knitspot. This artisan yarn was born out of Anne's highly successful BareNakedKnitspot club, when back in May 2012, the club members received a skein of an alpaca blend yarn. I was pattern only for this club, but lusted after the yarn. One of the shades was called 'flapjack', it sounded so yummy and comforting. So I was delighted when BareNakedWools was launched at the end of January this year. The same alpaca yarn is back, in a range of colours including a rich chocolatey brown 'cocoa', a natural 'oatmeal' and a soft grey 'morning smoke'. This range, called the Breakfast Blend, is available in both fingering and DK weights. The fingering yarn is a blend of merino, alpaca and nylon (50/40/10) while the DK is a mix of merino and alpaca (60/40).

What can I tell you about this loveliness? It is an absolute delight to knit with; I savoured every last minute knitting each luscious stitch. The knitted fabric is soft and velvety, with a slight fuzzy halo, making for cosy knits. Perfect for accessories such as hats, cowls, mitts and socks as well as sweaters and cardigans. I can only imagine just how plush and snuggly it would feel being cocooned in a sweater knit out of Breakfast Blend.

Earl Grey Roger socks (7)
I was lucky enough to get a skein of the fingering weight yarn in the darker Earl Grey colourway, and knit my favourite knitspot socks, the Roger sock. Get ready for some pampered feet!

Earl Grey Roger socks (2)
Earl Grey Roger socks (6)

Earl Grey Roger socks (5)  
Earl Grey Roger socks (11)
Earl Grey Roger socks (17)

I am going to treat myself to another skein, DK this time, to knit a Squish Me hat. I might have to wait a little while because lots of the yarns have already sold out and are waiting to be restocked! Just shows how popular they are. Take a look at the yarn here. Which colourway is your favourite?

And of course, given how soft and snuggly this yarn is, it comes as no surprise at all that a certain little being has her beadies on the leftovers! xxx

Flo and Breakfast Blend 037

Getting up close and personal!


I've been nominated for a Liebster blog award by Sarah. The award is for a favourite blog with 200 followers or less. There are some rules to follow including:
1. I have to give 11 random facts about myself.
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and then think of 11 questions for the new bloggers who you pass the award on to.
So here are 11 random facts about me!
1. I am 6' and 1/2" tall.
2. I have passed my Grade 8 piano and flute exams.
3. I love old fashioned puddings with custard.

Cornwall May 2011 154  
4. I still have my wisdom teeth in a little pot, removed when I was a student!
5. I love the musical 'Blood Brothers' by Willy Russell, and even though I know how it ends, I cry every time I see it!
6. My favourite period of history is the Tudors.
7. I lived and worked in Strasbourg for 6 months while I was at University.
8. I love eating fish and chips on the beach at Aldeburgh in Suffolk.

Aldeburgh and Southwold 1st October 2011 039  
9. I enjoy visiting gardens (especially if there's a tearoom!)
10. I have every single birthday and Christmas card ever sent to me since the age of 11. (This is going to change soon as I plan to have a ruthless clearout over the Easter holidays!)
11. Next year I shall be celebrating a milestone birthday.
Now the questions asked by my nominator:
1. Favourite Craft? Knitting

2. Best ever Holiday destination? The Greek island of Kos

Greece 2012 189
3. If you could change something in your life what would it be? I would have studied music at university.

4. What do you do to relax? Knit!

5. Which season is your happiest and why? Summer because I hate being cold. I like being able to sit and knit in the garden.

6. Most recently read book and would you recommend it? The Tenko Club by Elizabeth Noble. Good as a beach read, but not great literature!

7. Cats or Dogs? Cats!

flo - basking 004

8. Yummiest food? Roast lamb with all the trimmings, followed by sticky toffee pudding and custard. Mmmmmmmm!

9. The nicest thing that anyone has ever done for you? My husband is always doing nice things - bringing me a cuppa in bed, cooking the dinner, making my packed lunches, washing up and making me laugh!

10. What made you start blogging? I wanted to keep a record of my knitting journey, and it has grown from there.

11. Do you have a secret vice and if so what is it? Not telling!!

I am not going to nominate specific blogs to receive the award as I know that some of you don't like doing this kind of thing. But if you'd like to take part and have less than 200 followers, consider yourself nominated. Here's my questions for you to ponder.
1. Are you an early morning or late night person?
2. Tea or coffee?
3. What achievement do you feel most proud of?
4. Bubble bath or shower?
5. Favourite place to get away from it all?
6. Is there any new skill you'd like to learn?
7. Favourite topping for a slice of toast?
8. Pet hate?
9. Favourite knitting designer?
10. Fondest childhood memory?
11. What's your favourite 'never fails' recipe for a quick, delicious meal?
Please let me know if you're taking part and I'll make sure that I pop over and read your answers! xxx

Sunday, 17 March 2013

It's been one of those weeks......

......when nothing much has been achieved. Winter made another appearance with overnight coverings of snow, and windscreen de-icing was the order of the day. I'm not quite sure where all my time goes - I don't seem to have as much knitting time as previously. It's probably because I'm still trying to sort things out around the house. It's not long until the Easter holidays now and I am looking forward to some knitting and spinning time. Time for me, me, me!!
I have finished the first of a pair of socks, knit in a wonderful yarn that I'll tell you more about once I have finished them.
Earl Grey Roger socks Breakfast Blend 4 ply WIP 005

I am test knitting some mitts for Marianne at the moment, it's a fun pattern, but I'd better not show you until she has released the pattern! I am itching to get back to my 64 Crayons blanket, but am going to get these two knits finished first. I had to pop into my local yarn shop yesterday as I didn't have the right size needles to get started on the mitts. Not only did I buy the needles, but I also fell in love with some Regia merino and angora sock yarn. The colour is beautiful, a pale duck egg blue, and it is so, so soft. When I came home, Mr JK asked what I'd bought besides the needles - he knows me so well!!
slight stash slippage (3)

I made some delicious cheesy garlic bread today. Mr JK found the recipe on the BBC Good Food website. It's so simple to make but tastes delicious. I can definitely recommend it.  I made 12 sections rather than the 8 the recipe recommended. We ate ours with some stuffed peppers and salad. Yummy!

delicious cheesy garlic bread (1)

stuffed peppers and garlic bread (2)

Florence has been mountaineering this week - she has discovered the mantelpiece and managed to break two ornaments! She is still wearing her collar, and it doesn't seem to bother her. We discovered this week that the magnet needed to open the cat flap won't fit over the clasp on this collar, but are hoping that she will accept the original style of collar now. Watch this space!!
Have a good week, whatever you have planned. I hope the sun shines in your part of the world! xxx

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Five things

Five things that have made me happy this week.

1. Florence has been wearing collar number 2 since last Thursday, and so far, so good! This one has a little clip to secure it, rather than having to thread the loose end through a buckle, and she seems much happier. The next step will be to attach the magnet that operates the cat flap. In the meantime, she is making herself well and truly at home on my sheepskin!

Flo snuggles into the fleece (4)

2. Having a Saturday brunch! We hardly ever have a cooked breakfast, but treated ourselves yesterday to the full works. Mr JK's plate had an added extra - black pudding!! Not for me, I'm afraid!
Saturday brunch (2)

3. Seeing my good friend Snoopydog yesterday afternoon. While Mr JK was watching Norwich City play at Carrow Road, Snoops and I caught up over a mug of tea and ginger biscuits. I admired her lovely crochet blanket, and of course, Oscar thought it was his!
Oscar wants a blanket

4. Receiving some yarn from Nancy in the USA. She very kindly gifted me some yarn from the Fall in Full Color club, together with some beautiful buttons. I shared the yarn with Snoops! Thank you Nancy, you are so generous.
Holda from Nancy (1)

5. Eating bread and butter pudding with custard, another childhood favourite as Mr JK and I both remembered our dear Mums today, on Mother's Day.
bread and butter pudding 005

I hope lots of things have made you happy this week! xxx

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Operation cat collar -


operation cat collar - fail

Well, phase 1 has failed. It took Miss Flo precisely three days to remove her collar. So today I have bought her one with a different closure. We shall see what she makes of that! In the meantime, she is making herself at home on our sheepskin throws (having studiously avoided the one in her basket purchased especially for her during our trip to Skye!) Butter wouldn't melt, eh?! xxx
butter wouldn't melt (2)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

And finally, some knitting

Can you believe it, two posts in a weekend?! I'm avoiding doing some work for school!! It will have to be done at some point today, but I don't feel like doing it right now! I told you yesterday that I actually had some knitting to share with you. First of all, a simple shawl knitted in some of my own handspun. This was a present for a friend. It seems ages since I knit it, you can see snow on the ground in the photos. It was the last thing I made before we moved. The patterns is a very simple one from knitspot called Les Abeilles. I like it because it starts at the hem and gets smaller. The lace pattern is easy to memorise too.
handspun huggable Les Abeilles 005

handspun huggable Les Abeilles 003

This pair of plain vanilla socks has been on the needles since the end of last year. They are for one of my University friends and have been knit using a Zauberball. One of them is quite tweedy while the other one is quite plain. I hope she likes them!
Plain vanilla socks no14 (2)

We went for a look around our local farmers' market yesterday. There was a queue at the bread stall, and talking to someone else who was waiting, it sounds like it's very popular and often sells out quite quickly. We bought a red onion marmalade loaf and a cheese and onion bread, as well as a Norfolk apple bun for elevenses! The cheesy loaf was absolutely delicious. We saved some and froze it for another weekend.
farmers' market booty (2)

I have been busy in the kitchen this weekend too. Yesterday I baked a ginger cake. The whole house was filled with that wonderful baking aroma. Mmmmmmmmmm. The cake has been sliced and frozen. We don't eat a lot of cake, but it's nice to have some handy when you fancy a slice.
ginger cake

I also made a recipe from the Hairy Dieters cookbook for lunch today (just to counteract the effect of the cake, don't you know!) It was called Spanish-style Chicken Bake and it was really delicious. You would never have thought you were eating something healthy. It has peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, potatoes, chicken and chorizo with some herbs and spices. I know we will be making this again.
mmmmmmm lunch! 001

And because it's the weekend, I also made a good old fashioned rice pudding. I love the top when it's all brown. Grab a spoon and help yourself!

mmmmmmm lunch! 003

Florence is not a happy girl today because 'Operation Cat Collar' has begun. She is going around the house with a look of abject misery on her face. Little does she know that the collar is her key to freedom. She will get used to wearing it in a few days I expect.
I have just taken over as a joint moderator of the ThreeBagsFull group on Ravelry. All of the members are great fans of Michele's wonderful project bags which she sells from her Etsy shop here. The bags are beautifully made - fully lined with co-ordinating fabrics, ribbons and handmade beads. Michele has just started making dpn cases too and I may have bought one!! Before long, she will be celebrating her 4000th sale, and that bag will be free! Why not pop over to her shop and treat yourself. Your knitting projects deserve a nice home, don't they?! Also come and join our group on Ravelry. We are planning lots of fun things over the coming weeks and months. Hope to see some of you there! Bye for now! xxx

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Settling in

Well hello there! Long time, no see! It feels like ages since I last blogged. Life has been hectic. Can you guess what we have been doing?! Yes!!! Unpacking boxes! It was half term last week and I spent the what felt like the whole week unpacking boxes and trying to find homes for things. We are pretty much there now, just a few boxes left. We still need to do things like put up pictures. Hopefully that will get done this weekend sometime. I promised you a guided tour, didn't I? I'll start off today with a tour of downstairs.
The lounge runs the length of the house; the patio doors face south, so it is a lovely sunny room. As you can see, we have a lot of books!! The sheepskins that we bought in Skye last October are in use now on the sofas, and they are lovely and snuggly.
lounge (3)

lounge (1)

The kitchen is fabulous. There is so much storage space in there, it's wonderful to be able to put things away in cupboards and not have them out on the worktops gathering dust! Mr JK loves the Rangemaster cooker!

kitchen (2)

kitchen (1)

The office is the new home of the piano. It was my Grandmother's wedding present and dates back to the 1920's. I love it!

study (1)

study (2)

The garden has been well looked after, so it will be fun seeing what is growing in there. I took this photo this afternoon. The blue sky makes a lovely change, although it's still pretty chilly!
garden (1)

There are lots of snowdrops growing in little clumps around the garden.

garden (3)

I think this is a Hellebore.

garden (4)

All the while I was outside, Flo was keeping a careful eye on me. We need to start 'Operation Cat Collar' and get a cat flap fitted so that she can start to explore her new surroundings. I'll see you very soon when I will actually have some knitting to share with you! Good heavens!! xxx
watchful Flo (2)