Sunday, 28 August 2016


Do you remember this cushion that I sewed on the very first day of the school holidays?

Oxford cushion (5)

I was pleased to learn a new technique with the Oxford cushion, but was a bit 'meh!' about it because it looked so dull. The cushion has been sat waiting patiently in my craft room for a spot of beautifying. I thought long and hard about how I was going to decorate it because the cushion cover was already made up. Embellishments would usually be added before joining. I decided to use free motion stitching to sew on some colourful circles, so rummaged through my fabric scraps to find some pretty pieces.


I arranged them in a 3 by 3 grid on the cushion and when I was happy, ironed them in place (they are attached with Bondaweb.) Then came the jiggery-pokery bit - stretching the cushion front out in an embroidery hoop so that each circle could be stitched on without also stitching through the back of the cushion too! It was a bit of a pig to do and I did wonder at one point whether I'd chosen the most sensible option, but kept at it!



A good press with the steam iron got rid of all the creases from the embroidery hoop and I have to say that I am really happy with how it turned out! 



A pretty satisfactory transformation don't you reckon? From this ...


... to this in less than two hours!


Amazingly Florence has yet to sniff this one out, but that's because her blanket detection radar has been activated (just a swatch, but she's determined to sit on that!) and I'm certain that it's only a matter of time before she tests it for squishability! In the meantime, it's found a new home on a chair in our bedroom. Even I am admitting defeat in squeezing any more cushions onto the sofas!!

Oxford cushion gets a new home (1)

Don't forget you still have time to enter my giveaway to win some yarn vouchers! xxx

Friday, 26 August 2016

Knit yourself a Rippling Rainbow scarf plus giveaway!

It seems a bit odd to be writing a blog post about a scarf on a very hot and sunny afternoon, but before we know it, the evenings will be drawing in and the mornings will have a nip in the air.  You'll be thanking me then that I had the foresight to publish this super-quick scarf pattern! Leaves are already falling from the trees in the garden and autumn is just around the corner! This Rainbow Ripple scarf is the perfect accessory to not only keep you nice and cosy on those chilly mornings but will also brighten your wardrobe and cheer you up! How could anyone be miserable with that glorious rainbow of colour snuggled around their neck?!

When I visited Stylecraft HQ last month, I was given a pack of Batik yarn with one ball of each of the shades. The yarn is a DK weight, 80% premium acrylic and 20% wool and comes in 16 beautiful stonewashed colours that go together so well. The balls are 50g and at only £1.99 a ball, you can whip yourself up a rather snazzy scarf  relatively cheaply. Take a look at the whole range here ...

Stylecraft goodie bag (1)

I knew that I wanted to knit a ripply scarf for myself, and being a big fan of rainbows, picked out 7 shades that fitted the bill. From the top we have Cherry, Coral, Old Gold, Sage, Violet, Indigo and Plum. 

If you prefer something less bright, then there are lots of colour options there. The pattern is very easy to memorise and before you know it, you'll have a beautiful scarf ready for the first cooler days and then feel rather smug as your less-well prepared friends look on enviously!! I chose to add some pompoms onto each end of the scarf as I thought they added to the fun feel. I used a 35mm Clover pompom maker and that made it very simple indeed. If you prefer your scarf naked without pompoms, the ripple pattern gives a rather pretty wavy edge.

You can download the pattern for free from my Ravelry store here. And since it's a Bank Holiday weekend, let's have a bit of a giveaway too! Thanks to the generous peeps at Stylecraft, I can offer one lucky person three - yes! three! - £5 vouchers which can be redeemed at any bricks and mortar yarn shop stocking Stylecraft yarn. So you can buy all the yarn you need to knit your very own Rippling Rainbow scarf! I'm really sorry but these vouchers can only be used in the UK, so if you're from overseas and your name gets picked out, I'll send you a Stylecraft Tote bag and Stylecraft pink flower key ring, so you'll be the envy of all your knitting chums! Please let me know when you leave a comment whether you are in the UK or abroad. I'll leave the competition open until midday on Saturday 10th September and use a random number generator to pick a winner after that. Good luck one and all and may the yarn gods and goddesses smile upon you! xxx

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Restoring equilibrium

Hello! It feels like ages since we had a chat, doesn't it? Pull up a chair and join me for a trip to Greece. We had a fabulous time in Kos; it's one of our very favourite places to stay. Mr JK and I have been going back year after year for a long time and love it as much now as we did on our first trip. We've made lots of friends there and it is always a pleasure to go round and say hello to people once we've arrived. Of course, we don't come away empty handed - an ouzo here, an ice cream there. It's a lovely feeling. The village where we stay is small and unspoilt. The villagers carry on with their daily lives despite the visitors. Yes, of course tourism is an important source of their income but also fishing and farming play their part too. Rooms in the village tend to be let out privately by the villagers themselves, so it feels good to be helping them directly rather than giving money to large tour operators. The beach is huge and never gets crowded and that's where Mr JK and I spend a large chunk of our time. We're not sun worshippers, far from it! In fact we spend our time on sun loungers in the shade under the trees at the back of the beach. Our days are filled with reading, listening to music (Mr JK), knitting (me), playing endless games of Scrabble and a new one this year - catching up on the goings on in Ambridge each day listening to The Archers podcast on the beach! It is the most perfect way for us to relax and recharge our batteries.



Greece 2016 (4)


Visitor numbers to Kos are down this year, in part due to some rather inaccurate reporting of problems with migrants and refugees. The local people we spoke to said that there was no problem at all and it had all been exaggerated by the press. I just hope that people return to stay on this beautiful island soon.

We took lots of cat food with us as usual, but noticed that there were far fewer kittens around this year. There is a neutering programme in operation on the island; cats that have been 'done' have an ear clipped so it's easy to spot them and also to identify cats that still need to be caught. Each day we walked down to the harbour first thing (after Mr JK had been for a run, that is!!) and had a trio of regulars who were waiting for us. They were sometimes joined by one or two others. The cat closest to the camera had a bad tail and we wished that we could have taken him to the vet for some attention. I love the second photo, showing them all washing after they'd eaten!



You can quite clearly see the clipped ear in the photo below. This cat was a beauty and seemed to have taken up residence near our favourite lunchtime taverna.

Greece 2016 (31)

Greece 2016 (96)

We ate delicious food every day - loads of salads and fish (Mr JK) and traditional Greek dishes (me) - I am such a baby when it comes to eating fish and can find a bone in a fish finger!! Mr JK has well and truly topped up his Omega 3 levels.

Greece 2016 (9)



Of course I did indulge in some of my favourite sweet treats too - it wouldn't be right not to have baklava or yoghurt with honey! We ate loads of fruit too and managed to chomp our way through two large watermelons, peaches, nectarines and grapes, all of which were deliciously juicy and sweet.

Greece 2016 (172)

I did some crochet on the beach on Granny Square Day, but the rest of the time I was working on some ideas using some of the soon-to-be-released sock yarns from Stylecraft. Sneaky peeks coming up!





It was a fabulous holiday and I'm feeling nicely relaxed and (almost) ready for the new term! I'll leave you with a few more photos of the holiday. There are loads over on Flickr too in an album and if you follow me on Instagram (link at the top of the page), you'll have seen what I was up to each day. I'll be back soon with a new pattern to share with you, all ready for those chilly autumn mornings! xxx

Greece 2016 (12) 

Greece 2016 (114) 


Greece 2016 (113) 


Greece 2016 (157) 

Greece 2016 (176)



Saturday, 13 August 2016

Are you ready for Granny Square Day?

Devon Aug 2014  crochet(29)

On August 15th, it's Granny Square Day! You can read all about the background to the day here. The peeps at Stylecraft HQ thought that it might be fun to join in, so I have my yarn packed and will be crocheting along on Monday sat on the beach in Greece! Here are the instructions for posting a photo on Instagram:

On August 15th, take a photo of a granny square (a 4-round traditional granny works best) and crop it so that the single square fill the entire screen of your post. When everyone uses the same hashtag, a virtual Granny Square blanket is created! This year's tag will be #grannysquareday2016

We are also going to use another hashtag for our very own Stylecraft virtual Granny Square blanket  - #stylecraftgrannysquareblanketday2016 - and it would be great if you could join in with us. I think  that several of the Blogstars will be taking part. If you're not on Instagram, you can share your photo with Stylecraft on their Facebook page and I understand that they will post it onto Instagram for you. I'm really looking forward to seeing our virtual blanket. Happy hooking folks! xxx

Granny Square Day yarn

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Carousel - a Stylecraft CAL

Having recently completed my first crochet blanket, the Cosy Stripe Blanket from Attic24, I'm on the lookout for something else. I didn't join in the CAL with the Cosy Stripe Blanket but wish that I had because I think it would have helped me to finish it a LOT sooner! Seeing fellow crocheters progress from week to week is very motivating and encourages you to keep with it. When I was at Stylecraft HQ last month, I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of Sue Pinner's latest creation - the Carousel blanket. Sue has made two versions of this blanket - one in Stylecraft Special DK and the other in Stylecraft's new Batik yarn. Sue has taken her inspiration for the blanket from fairgrounds, carousels and the circus. It is a stunning design and looks quite different in the two yarns. I love the stonewashed vintage look of the Batik version in particular. Take a look for yourself!

Here's the Special DK blanket ...

Carousel blanket Sue Pinner CAL (2)

and here's the Batik Carousel blanket ...

Carousel blanket Sue Pinner CAL (1)

Gorgeous, aren't they? The Crochet Along starts on September 13th with 6 instalments over 3 months. Stylecraft are giving away a pack of each yarn to two lucky people. All the details can be found here but you don't have long to enter! The winners will be announced on Saturday 13th August. Good luck! xxx

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Holiday time

Mr JK and I are off to Kos again on Thursday. Tomorrow morning I shall be taking Flo off to her cat hotel for the duration. She's blissfully unaware of what's to come, mainly because there has not been a sniff of packing here yet. Last week we had plumbers in redoing our en-suite. It was meant to take a week!! However, the en-suite is still not finished, we appear to not have any hot water this evening and I have yet to gain access to the wardrobes as the bedroom looks a bit like a builder's yard! I'm sure it will all come good in time, and I'm just trying to stay calm, decide what knitting projects are going to get packed and picture myself in one of my most favourite places on Friday morning. See you later in the month! xxx

Greece May 2014 258

ETA - Time permitting, I am going to schedule in a couple of blog posts while I am away, so that I don't completely vanish from Blogland! xxx

Sunday, 7 August 2016


I have A Lot of Secret Knitting going on right now, I'd love to be able to share it with you, but I am sworn to secrecy! I can just give you a sneaky peek at one of the new Stylecraft sock yarns which will be coming to a yarn shop near you in September. I've knitted more than 100 pairs of socks and have tried lots of different sock yarns and I have to tell you, if you like your sock yarn to be colourful, soft, affordable and 'chuck in the washing machine-able', then you won't be disappointed! Flo has already tested it for squishability and has given it the paws up!


I couldn't wait to get started on a new sock design either! Watch this space, I promise you'll be the first to know! xxx