Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Advent Challenges

Goodness, in two weeks it will be Christmas Day! How did that happen? I'm not feeling terribly festive at the moment. I think it's partly because I'm unwell and also because I've missed the build up to it with all the Christmassy activities I usually do with the children at school. My house has no decorations up as they are all stored in the loft and it's too hard for me to access at the moment. But I am lighting tealights fragranced with cinnamon and spiced apple so that will have to do for now!

I have been working hard on a couple of Advent projects - one crochet and the other knitting. I'm making another Attic24 blanket. This one is the Hydrangea blanket and it's looking lovely. I'm trying to hook four colour stripes each day, which should leave me with two days to get the border done. I'm being a good girl and dealing with the ends as I go too!

The knitted project is a cardigan designed by Joji Locatelli, called Madewell. I'm using the mini balls from last year's Opal Advent calendar, as well as a few left over from the previous year. I'm trying to knit one ball a day and to pick out the next ball of yarn so it has at least one colour in common with the previous one, to try to get some sense of blending. I'll probably be left with all odd ones at the end and my plan will go totally to pot! I do really like how it's looking so far, it's very bright and cheery, which is just what's needed right now!

I still have some gift knitting and crochet to finish too, so I shall love you and leave you for now so  I can get on with it! Keep warm and make sure you have some yarny relaxation. xxx

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Another week of wellbeing

Another week of being kind to myself and enjoying the simple pleasures in life.

*** Monday ***

I sewed an Advent calendar for my friend Julia using a pre-printed panel. I love the little animals, it's a really sweet design. I filled each pocket with sweet treats. I think Benny is hoping that I've put a doggy treat in for him too! (I haven't!!)

*** Tuesday ***

I finished my Marie Curie socks and posted them to Sarah; she is a doctor working at a Marie Curie hospice and her goal was to have enough socks to be able to give a pair to each patient. I knit lots of positive thoughts into every stitch.

*** Wednesday ***

A lazy sofa day with a cup of tea, chocolate, my Kindle and candles. 

*** Thursday ***

I won another competition on Instagram and my prize arrived. Two mugs and two tea towels from a new homeware range of one of my favourite authors, Katie Fforde. Oh, and a signed bookmark too, dedicated to me! I discovered Katie's books way back in 1994 and have enjoyed them ever since. 

*** Friday ***

Helping my friend Julia to sew cosmetics bags as Christmas presents. It's so much fun being able to share a love of creativity with someone and to be able to pass on skills. She's done a fabulous job!

*** Saturday ***

Setting myself two challenges for Advent - another Attic24 blanket, this time Hydrangea, as well as a cardigan designed by Joji Locatelli - Madewell - using mini balls of yarn from last year's Opal Advent calendar. I still have a bit of gift knitting to do too, so it's probably a totally bonkers idea to have, but all these things add some structure to my day.

*** Sunday ***

My darling cat Flo is never far from my side. Either curled up on my lap, or snoozing on the back of the sofa, she discovered a new sleeping spot today. I ordered a pack of yarn ready for the Attic24 Sweet Pea blanket CAL which starts in January. Flo is taking possession already by sleeping on the yarn!! So I have no hope - fingers crossed she will share it with me!

I hope you've had a good week too. Let me know what little things have warmed your heart. xxx

Sunday, 25 November 2018

A week of wellbeing

As I told you last week, I decided to try and do something nice for myself every day as a little bit of wellbeing. The last few months have been incredibly stressful, and now that I've started treatment, I think it's so important to take care of not just my body but my mind too. So here are some of the little treats that came my way...

*** Monday ***

 I unpacked a parcel from the USA. My lovely friends in the ThreeBagsFull group on Ravelry included me in their Advent yarn swap. So I have 25 little balls of yarn to unwrap as well as some chocolate and stitch markers. Of course Flo already has her eye on the goodies! I fully expect her to be monitoring the opening of each ball of yarn and no doubt trying to squirrel away her favourites! 

*** Tuesday ***

I made two loaves of vegan, gluten-free banana bread and my house was filled with the delicious aroma of baking. I've been reading up about autoimmune diseases and having a gluten-free diet seems to help a lot of people. So I'm giving it a whirl, I've got nothing to lose. I'm not vegan but my friend Julia is, and I wanted to give her a loaf too, so I adapted this vegan recipe and used gluten-free flour and baking powder instead. It tastes really good. 

*** Wednesday ***

A bunch of yellow roses from the supermarket today to brighten up the kitchen. 

*** Thursday ***

Julia and I spent some time sewing together and the first string of festive bunting is hot off the sewing machine! This is a present for a friend's Mum and Dad who loved the bunting we made last year.

***  Friday ***

I received a beautiful tea towel in the post from Poppy Treffry. She held a giveaway, asking people to make suggestions of things they would like to see in her shop. I'm a huge fan of her work. If you haven't seen her fun and quirky free motion stitched designs, please do pop over to her website and take a look. Perfect Christmas gifts! I love the Morris Minor Traveller on this tea towel - we had a white one when I was growing up. The sound of the engine is so nostalgic!

*** Saturday ***

Getting ready for Stir Up Sunday by mixing up the Christmas puddings. This was something Mr JK and I always did together and I like carrying on the tradition. Christmas music plays and the heady aroma of festive spices dances around the kitchen and up my nose. Heavenly! 

*** Sunday ***

Catching up over tea and a minced pie (my first this year and it's not even December yet!) with my dear pal Snoopydog. 

All simple things, but guaranteed to bring much pleasure and relaxation to the body and soul, which is the most important thing. I'm going to do the same thing next week if you'd like to join me again. xxx

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Itty Bitty baby socks

The photoshoot for my baby socks went ahead and I very quickly discovered that babies don't keep their feet still for a second! Baby Eliza was gorgeous and did the very best she could. I was more interested in checking out the size and fit really, as well as getting some photos on a real live baby rather than my cardboard baby foot!! 

I used oddments of Stylecraft yarns Head over Heels to make the socks. They should fit a baby foot 3-6 months approximately. I had enough yarn left over from an adult pair to easily make a baby pair, so now you and your little one can have matching toes!

Baby Kali Kardia comes in a chequerboard and ribbed design. Here's the chequerboard version...

And here's the ribbed version ...

The patterns are available free from my Ravelry store here

Very First Tracks has a simple ribbed pattern, nice and stretchy to accommodate growing feet.

You can download Very First Tracks for free from my Ravelry store here

I hope you like them. Do let me know if you knit a pair. I'll be back tomorrow to share what else I've been up to this week. xxx

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Brain fog

It's been one of those weeks where I had hoped to achieve so much yet I have managed to tick virtually nothing off my ever-growing 'to do' list. I started on some treatment at long last (BIG celebrations  and turning virtual cartwheels here!) and while I hoped that the high doses of iv steroids were going to turn me into a knitter of great speed and endurance, alas they have totally befuddled my brain and messed up my sleep to boot! I'm hoping that as the dose decreases over the coming weeks, things will improve on that front. But on a positive, I can tell that they are working their magic. I'll go back to see my consultant in December when I should then be starting on immunosuppressants too, so I will be attempting to avoid all coughs, colds and sniffles. That's going to be fun!

The baby sock photoshoot should be happening on Tuesday and then, as long as the socks fit ok, and the patterns don't need any tweaking, I will be able to release them on Ravelry. I hope that baby Eliza is going to be a good model!

Have you seen that Stylecraft are holding an amazing raffle in aid of the mental health charity Mind? There are some really great prizes up for grabs, including a couple of little notions bags that I sewed earlier this year. The link to the Just Giving page is here - please pop over and consider making a donation to help others. You might just win a prize too! 

This week I am going to try and do something nice for myself every day as a little bit of wellbeing, so I'm going to share those with you next weekend. If you fancy joining me and being kind to yourself, you'd be most welcome! xxx

Monday, 12 November 2018

Not quite

The baby socks are knitted, the patterns are written up ready for publishing but I'm not quite ready for release yet. I'm hoping to get a real live baby to be able to model them for me. Now I'm not too sure how smoothly this is going to go. Said baby, Eliza, isn't crawling yet, so hopefully there will be enough moments of still to be able to get some good photos. We'll soon see! 

In the meantime, I have become ever so slightly obsessed with a crocheted poncho! It popped up in my Instagram feed and I really, really like it. It's in the current issue of Crochet Now magazine and I decided that I needed to buy a copy at the weekend. I had a poncho once; it was scarlet and white with a fringe and I can very clearly remember pestering my poor Mum to buy it for me from British Home Stores. I wore it to death so that's a good sign that any new poncho is going to be equally loved. The shops are full of cosy, chunky knitwear of the poncho and wrap kind right now aren't they? I hope that when I wear mine, I'm going to look the part and not like I've accidentally mistaken a blanket for my coat! This is the pattern I'm enthusing over ...

and I have two monster balls of Stylecraft Aran with wool in the gorgeous Pale Rose Nepp colourway which I think should look really lovely. I like the idea of being really snuggled up but still having my arms free.

I am trying very hard to ignore the call to crochet until I've finished the second of my Marie Curie socks as they need to be posted off at the start of December. Yesterday Flo supervised the cuff knitting. So it's a socks and photoshoot kind of week for me by the looks of things. What have you got lined up for yours? xxx

Monday, 5 November 2018

Job done!

I did it! For the past week, I have remained loyal to my Midnight Companion blanket and Opal sock yarn cushion and I'm very pleased to announce that they are both finished! Woohoo, go me! High fives all round! There is something very satisfying about completing some old WIPs isn't there? There are always so many bright, new, shiny projects tempting me, but I've managed to ignore the call so far! My friend Julia helped me sew in the ends on the last couple of squares, although her dog did try his best to scupper our plans. Flo wasn't particularly helpful either, choosing to plonk herself on my lap almost as soon as she saw me getting underway with the ends on the blanket! You can read more about my Midnight Companion blanket and what it means to me over on the Stylecraft blog here

I love the cushion cover, it reminds me a little of a stained glass window with all the squares of colour glowing brightly. I joined the front and back using a round of double crochet and then added the Bobble-Shell edging from Attic24. I wanted the cover to be removable, so I crocheted  some chain loops down one edge between the bobbles and sewed some polka dot buttons on. Looking at them just makes me smile. I've made one pair of socks from the Advent calendar miniballs, but have decided that I will keep the rest and put them with last year's balls for an exciting Advent project! You'll have to wait until December 1st to see! 

Is there a collective noun for cushions do you think? A squish of cushions? A plump? What do you reckon? All I know is, there's no such thing as too many cushions! 

As setting myself a target last week seemed to work really well, I'm going to do the same again this week. I have some baby sock patterns that I need to write up and knit some samples for photographing, so pattern writing is the name of the game for the coming week. Have a good one. xxx