Tuesday, 17 September 2019

A bit of a backlog

That, my dear readers, is a pile of socks waiting to be photographed so that I can publish the patterns. It doesn't include 3 pairs that I've already gifted; I gave the recipient strict instructions not to get them too worn before photos. The only trouble is, that was back in April! Oops! It's really hard to take good photos of socks on your own feet. Or at least it is for me. I'm not able to get into strange, contorted positions to get the best angle. Mr JK was my sock photographer, and would patiently take photos, and with a wry smile, take more photos, until I felt like I had the perfect shots! One of my friends (she who has already received the 3 pairs) has offered to be a sock model, but it's proving incredibly hard to find a time to get them taken. Fingers crossed that in the next couple of weeks I can get some photos taken so that I can start to share my designs with you. Otherwise I might be on the lookout for some plastic feet! xxx

Sunday, 8 September 2019

New beginnings

I always liked the preparations for going back to school, even as a child (except for buying school shoes, don't get me started on that!) and that hasn't changed since becoming a teacher. I like to buy a couple of new folders to keep planning in, perhaps a new set of pens or occasionally a pencil case. So seeing all the 'back to school' things in the shops and knowing that I have no need of them currently left me feeling a bit like a fish out of water. So I decided to buy myself a couple of 'not going back to school' things, to bring a bit of cheer to the first week of (not) going back to school!

On Instagram I spotted someone knitting socks in a 'new to me' yarn. A little bit of detective work took me to the Etsy shop Burrow & Soar, and there I treated myself to a couple of beautiful skeins of sock yarn. The colours are just so pretty, I can't wait to start knitting with them. 

I had also read on Instagram about a 'Strictly Sockalong' starting during the launch show of this year's 'Strictly Come Dancing'. Another 'new to me' dyer, Lay Family Yarn, had created two different sock sets especially for the KAL, and I just couldn't resist 'Gorjus Darling'! I have a rough idea of the pattern I'm going to knit and hopefully if it all works out ok, I will write the pattern up if you like it. I wound the yarn, found the perfect matching project bag from ThreeBagsFull and had candles and fairly lights twinkling away in readiness. 

I also bought myself a new, bigger notebook for writing down my pattern notes. I've been using small notebooks but there isn't enough room to keep ball bands, yarn samples etc in those very easily. I'm really pleased with the book that I found on Amazon - the paper inside is a good quality as is the cover. The pens aren't new, but I really like using these along with the Waterman fountain pen that my Dad bought me many years ago. It's my absolute favourite to write with. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to make a start on my next pattern. xxx

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Bimbling through August

Bimbling pretty much describes my days currently; I don't have much planned from day to day as it's quite hard to know how I'm going to be feeling. So I'm not putting any pressure on myself to do anything in particular, although I try to stick to some daily routines. It's the last week of the school holidays and usually I'd be finishing off preparations and planning, and making sure that my classroom was ready for the new school year. But it's not to be at the moment, and I've been off work for such a long time now that I find it hard to remember what day it is! I do try to make sure that I have some kind of crafty activity going on each day - knitting, sewing or crochet, and I've just bought an adult colouring book as a kind of wind down to bedtime. I have got a couple of Top Secret Projects which I am feeling very excited, not to say totally giddy about. But as they are Top Secret, I can't say a word about them for now. So let me take you through some of my daily bimbles over the past couple of weeks.

*** An unexpected gift of some fabric from a friend ***

*** Enjoying the huge number of butterflies in the garden ***

*** Making tiffin! *** (recipe here)

*** Spotting a new species of plant in the garden - Florencia purripuss ***

*** A bunch of flowers brightening up my kitchen ***

*** Florence deciding to go into her furry igloo on one of the hottest days of the summer! ***

*** Finally getting all the ends sewn in on my Madewell cardigan ***

*** Loving the pollen-covered bee paying my flowers a visit ***

*** Flo enjoying a snooze ***

Before I go, I must just share a Crowdfunder page with you. I've been a follower of Lisa at For the Love of Yarn for some time now on Instagram. She's recently had to find a new studio as her old one was in a building that was condemned for being electrically unsafe. She's launched a Crowdfunding page to help to raise money to turn her new studio into a more workable space and to provide somewhere for yarn lovers to go and just chill out. Go and take a look and support her if you can. The yarny community is so supportive, I know that so well after my Great Yarn Giveaway last year. It's nice to be able to help someone out with a project that is going to benefit lots of people. xxx

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Granny Square Day 2019

Happy Granny Square Day to you! I chose to make my square using the 4 new shades of Stylecraft Yarns Bellissima DK yarn. I really love working with this yarn and have just finished a Big. Secret. Project using it which I will be able to share with you later in the year. The yarn is 100% acrylic and is spun in a way that makes a very rounded yarn, with great stitch definition and softness. These are the new shades - I find it hard to pick a favourite! How about you?

The Bellissima DK yarn range is interchangeable with the Bambino DK yarns and the two go really well together. There are quite a few colours in the range now and I hope that even more will be added. I'd like to see another purple and green for starters!

Granny Square Day is being organised by Simply Crochet magazine and it's best to head over to Instagram and search the hashtag #grannysquareday2019 to see virtual Granny Square blankets created before your very eyes. Have you made your Granny Square yet? It's not too late! xxx

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Get ready for Granny Square Day!

Copyright Simply Crochet

Popping in to remind all you lovely peeps out there that Granny Square Day is coming up this week. On August 15th to be precise. It's being organised by the team over at Simply Crochet where you can read up about what's involved and how to be part of a huge virtual Granny Square blanket. Head over there in a minute to find out all the details. I'll be back on Thursday with my Granny Square which just happens to showcase some rather lovely new yarn from Stylecraft! Can't wait to spill the beans! xxx

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Stylecraft Blogstars meetup and party time!

This time last week I was on a train travelling back home from the summer Stylecraft Yarns Blogstars meeting. I went by train as driving any distance is a bit of a no-go at the moment, but that was great because it meant I could knit on my journey! In fact, I am extremely happy with what came off my needles and I am sure that you will be seeing more of it in due course! (Sorry, I can't even share a sneaky peek!)

Our Blogstar meeting coincided with Stylecraft's 30th 'Purl Anniversary' party. Competitions were held earlier in the year which resulted in 30 members of the public and 30 yarn shop owners being invited to the Stylecraft mill for a day packed with party games, workshops and celebrations. Initially when the party was first planned, I was going to be teaching a knitting workshop, but most annoyingly, my health made it clear that this was going to be impossible. Even so, it was wonderful to be able to see the party preparations and see what delights were in store for the lucky, lucky attendees. One of the rooms in the mill had been partially cleared to make space, with boxes upon boxes of yarns in the background. Think of it as a bit of a Stylecraft Pick and Mix experience! Annabelle and Juliet and some of the other Stylecraft team worked tirelessly on Friday to create a wonderful woolly welcome for the guests. Here are a few photos to give you an idea. My fellow Blogstar Phil was at the Purl Party and you can read more about it here

Just follow the yarn fumes!
Pompom bunting everywhere!
Tables set out for the games and workshops

Annabelle and Juliet had come up with some super-fun party games including Special DK bingo. A mahoosive box containing one each of all the colours in the Special DK range was ready to have balls picked at random to match with the specially made bingo cards. Winners would be presented with gorgeous yarny bouquets.

One of the prizes in the Special DK bingo. House!

There was also a game of 'Guess which colours of Special DK are missing'. Fourteen or fifteen little knitted jumpers have been left out of the display. The Blogstars spent some time trying to work it out. Lucy from Attic24 and Helen from Crystals and Crochet certainly know their colours!

Helen and Lucy working out which colours were missing.

Each of the Blogstars who was running a workshop had a space to display some of their work. It was so inspiring to see such creativity all in one place and I have to pinch myself sometimes that I'm part of this group. I'm so lucky.

Emma Varnam was teaching her group to make crocheted cacti.

Jane Crowfoot's group were learning how to add beads to crochet.

Phil's group were learning about simple motif design and stranded knitting.

Helen Shrimpton's group were learning about different kinds of crochet stitches.

Lucy's group were crocheting cotton mandalas.

In our Blogstars meeting, we were given a sneak preview of the new yarns and colours for this autumn and winter, as well as a peep at some possible yarns for next spring and summer which had us squealing with excitement!!! Several of the coming season's yarns have already been released so I can share those with you.

Starlight is a new aran weight yarn, 60% cotton, 39% premium acrylic and 1% polyester, giving it that lovely sparkle. I can see a gorgeous lacy wrap knitted in this - perfect for when it gets a little cooler in the evenings. 

There are three new colours in the Life DK range. I am rather a fan of those shades with the nepps in them. Life is 25% wool and 75% acrylic and comes in a good range of colours.

There are also three new shades in the Special Aran range in the big 400g balls. Finally a ball that Flo can't steal, although I would quite like to see her try!

Three new colourways have been introduced into the Batik Swirl yarn cakes. I really like these as they are perfect for knitting or crocheting items where you want some variety of colour but don't really want to have to deal with lots of ends to weave in. Batik is really nice to work with, and is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. It has a dappled effect which is rather attractive and it's lovely and soft too.

Meet Bruno and Jessie! These cute characters have both knitted and crocheted options and are sure to become favourites with little ones. 

I was lucky enough to see the latest blanket design by Helen Boreham at the mill last weekend. It's crocheted in Special DK and is called the Tessellation blanket. There are two colour options as well as a DIY colour plan if you fancy designing your own colourway.

In the afternoon we had an excellent photography workshop where we learnt how to take flat lay photos. I will be sharing my photo with you soon as it's all to do with Granny Square Day which is coming up very soon.

Congratulations to Stylecraft on 30 years of bringing knitters and crocheters around the world some of the most beautiful, colourful and affordable yarns. Here's to the next ten years! xxx

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Meet the original josiekitten

Let me introduce you to the original josiekitten! (Doesn't she bear an uncanny likeness to Flo?) Josie was my first cat, given to me by a friend as a house warming present when I bought my first house! I can still remember the day that we went to the cat sanctuary to choose a cat. My friend wanted to get me a fluffy tabby cat with a funny meow but as I walked past the cage where Josie was, she pushed both her front legs as far through as she could and grabbed hold of me! So she chose me really and there wasn't any more to be said! Josie was definitely a 'one-person' kind of cat. She loved me but could be a tad grumpy with others. But she was a gorgeous girl and we had many happy years together. Her fur was the softest, silkiest fur I have ever stroked (but don't tell Flo that!) When I was looking for a name for my blog, josiekitten felt right. How did you choose your blog name? xxx