Sunday, 25 July 2010

Phew - made it!

Hello! I'm sorry to say that there has been very little knitting going on in the JK household this week. The last few days of term were exhausting! The term isn't quite over for me yet, as I am going into work tomorrow for a day of planning meetings with colleagues. It was either now or at the end of the holidays, so we all decided it was better to get it out of the way! I can, however, show you the end product from my school knitting club. I ended up with eight girls, who all made a scarf for a favourite teddy! They were so proud of their work.

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We didn't get as much done as I'd hoped, mainly because I let them take their knitting home, and they often forgot to bring it in on the day of the club! Next time, I'll have a project for school and a different one for home! They all seem enthusiastic to carry on next term, so we'll hopefully move on to the purl stitch!

As well as the end of term chaos, Mr JK and I landed ourselves with the job of coming up with a fund raising quiz sheet for our local gardening group. 'No problem!' I said merrily, some months ago - well doesn't time fly?! The quiz is needed for next weekend, so we have spent the last few nights with our noses stuck in gardening books, coming up with a whole mixture of questions, some cryptic, some factual and others anagrams. I'm actually pretty pleased with how it turned out, and will get the quiz sheets copied and ready to sell! Just remind me to keep my mouth firmly shut if I look like I'm going to volunteer for anything else in the near future!

I received my Teatime treats swap parcel from Joy this week, and I was well and truly spoilt! She sent me a felted teacosy, decorated with some very pretty crochet flowers, a mug, a calorie-free cupcake pincushion, a lovely fabric-covered notebook, a crocheted doily, some kitsch teapot stitch markers, some tea and some delicious homemade apricot and ginger biscuits! Needless to say, they didn't last long! Take a look!

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This afternoon, Mr JK and I visited Salle Park. The garden was open as part of the National Gardens Scheme. It has a fantastic walled kitchen garden, and the fruit and vegetables were pretty impressive! It was wonderful to see so many insects enjoying themselves in the flowers.
Bees buzzing in the lavender ..................

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............ and the echinacea.

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I've got to get my knitting skates on this week, as not only do I need to get my Summer 2010 parcel posted, but I also have to get ready for KnitNation. I've got rather a lot of homework that needs to be done before Friday afternoon, so I'd better get cracking! Have a good week!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Teatime treats

Hello there, it doesn't seem a week since I was last here! Only 5 more gettings up until the holidays, and I can't wait! Snoopydog and I have the treat of KnitNation to look forward to. I ordered my dpn in readiness for the sock class, and have watched this video on YouTube, to try and get to grips with Magic Loop! I'm going to have a try this evening to see how I get on.

My Teatime treats parcel was received by Ethmay this week, so I can now share with you the goodies I sent her. I made a felted teacosy, and made some felted flowers to go on it. It needed two cycles in the machine to get a really good felt, and the whole house smelt of wet dog until it was dry. Thankfully the smell disappeared!

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I was really pleased with how the roses turned out. I used this pattern from Ravelry. I also made a cupcake pincushion, and sewed some beads and sequins on the top for the sprinkles. It was a pattern from the Knit Today magazine a couple of years ago, and I used up some oddments of Baby Cashmerino.

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I found a few more goodies to put into the parcel, and this is what Ethmay received! (minus the teapot!)

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She's already promised to send me back a mini-skein of the sock yarn for my blankie, once she's knitted a pair of socks! Now that I've finished that swap, I'm putting all my efforts into the Summer 2010 swap. I just have to finish one thing and then I'm done!

I have been busy with the sewing machine, and have managed to line the Inga Sunny Summery bag. It's not perfect, but I'm really pleased with my efforts! I may get some ribbon and trim the inside seam, just to cover up a couple of slightly dodgy places!

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Here's a closer look at the lining. I also backed the straps, so hopefully they won't stretch too much.

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The garden is great at the moment. Mr JK dug up a couple of beetroot yesterday, and some shallots, and made a jar of Delia's pickled beetroot with shallots. It's really delicious, and doesn't have that awful overpowering vinegary taste that you may well associate with beetroot. We also picked our first French beans, more mangetout and broad beans, some celery, and the most scrummy new potatoes that we're eating with salad this evening. We are waging war on cabbage white butterflies, and have spent some time this afternoon building a netted fortress around the brassicas to try and keep the little beggars from having one huge picnic!

I'll leave you now with a photo of the buddleia, which has suddenly come into flower this week. It's been a haven for the bees. Have a lovely week, and see you soon! xx


Sunday, 11 July 2010

Full of milky goodness

Hello again! Hope you've had a good week. I've had a busy time, taking my pupils up to high school for the first of their transition days, plus several rehearsals for their leavers performance on the last day of term. I also passed my minibus driver's test, so I can now drive a minibus full of kids! It's been a scorcher of a week here, especially at night. I've found it really hard to sleep right through, waking around 4am and then dozing until the alarm goes off. We are due a day of rain tomorrow, so I'm hoping it will cool things down a bit. We need the rain in the garden too! The mallow has suddenly sprung into life big time, and is threatening to take over the decking. I do love the flowers.

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The veggies are doing well, and we've been eating almost exclusively from the garden this week - salad leaves, rocket, cucumbers, tomatoes and mangetout. Mr JK accidentally disturbed one of the potato plants, and unearthed a couple of salad potatoes. Mmmmmmmm! It won't be that long before they are dug up. I love new potatoes, simply boiled with a knob of butter. The clematis has come into flower this week. It's called Polish Spirit, and we bought it because of Mr JK's family links with Poland. It has beautiful purple flowers ........

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To try and cool down a bit, we went for a stroll down Cromer pier this morning. There was a lovely sea breeze, and we certainly felt more refreshed.

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I went into Norwich yesterday to buy this ......


................. and I came back with this little lot too!


Oops! It was the end of the John Lewis sale, and there were many extremely tempting bargains to be had! Do you want a closer look? Oh, go on then! I bought some lengths of ribbon on a card, no idea what I'm going to use them for at the moment, but they looked so pretty, I couldn't resist!


I also bought some more fabric to make bags (more of this later!) The Amy Butler fabric wasn't in the sale, but as I only needed 30cm, it wasn't very expensive. I bought some co-ordinating ribbon to use as a drawstring too.

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I then spotted the bins with yarn in them, and snaffled 21 balls of Rowan Milk Cotton DK, at the incredible price of £1.20 a ball (it usually retails at £4.95!) I can picture a crocheted blanket, maybe a ripple, or possibly some kind of Granny square a la Attic24. This is the colour range I chose ........

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and here are all the balls together! The yarn has 30% milk protein in it, and feels very soft.

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I called in to see my good friend Snoopydog, to give her a birthday present, and met Oscar for the first time. He's very cute, and well behaved, even though he did keep trying to lick my feet!! (Brave dog!) Snoops had a gift for me too - a bargain she had spotted earlier in the year - a Cath Kidston knitting needle case, complete with needles. A girl can never have too many knitting needles in my view!


My yarn purchasing didn't stop there! Oh, no! I called in at Norfolk Yarn on the way back up to North Norfolk for some baby yarn. My boss has asked me to knit her two lots of baby clothes over the summer holidays. As she doesn't know if the babies are boys or girls, I'm going to make a stripy cardigan, with matching hat and socks for each, using these yarns .......

Beryl's baby clothes

Once the babies are born, I'll add the button band and some suitable buttons.

I've finally got going on my sewing machine. After a few practises on scraps, I followed this really easy tutorial to make a little lined drawstring bag. It's by no means perfect, and I think the cord is a bit too thick for the size of the bag, but I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself! It's the perfect size to keep my earrings in when I'm travelling. Now that I've made one, I'm going to experiment with the sizing to make a sock project bag. Guess what everyone's going to be getting for Christmas presents now?!

Lined drawstring bag

My knitting projects are progressing steadily. I'm almost halfway through making something for the Summer 2010 swap, and my Teatime Treats swap is all ready for posting, so I should be able to show you what I've been busy making for Ethmay next time. And I'm not going to let myself play with any more drawstring bags until I've lined the two crochet bags, honest! Before I go, I must just show you some yarn that I won this week. Kate had bought a skein of Wollmeise yarn, but when it arrived, she knew that it was just too ORANGE for her. So rather than leave it gathering dust at the bottom of her stash, she very kindly offered it as a giveaway to the person who gave (in her view) the best suggestion of what to make with it. She liked my idea, so the yarn arrived this week, and I shall soon be found wearing my sunglasses, knitting a pair of globe trotting socks for Snoopydog's younger daughter. It does feel extremely squishy and soft, so I hope that I manage to get some at KnitNation. KnitNation is only three weeks away, and I need to learn how to do magic loop between now and then, so best I go and get on with it! Have a lovely week, whatever you're up to. See you soon. xx

Katy's carrot socks

Sunday, 4 July 2010

A crafty weekend

Hello there! Thanks for calling in. It's been a hot and sunny weekend here on the North Norfolk coast, unlike much of the UK, and we've been making the most of it, with some lovely al fresco meals. Mr JK has come up trumps in the vegetable stakes again this year. We picked some broad beans, and had Delia Smith's broad bean salad for lunch today, with some warm pitta bread. I love podding broad beans. They look so cosy inside their pods. I'm always reminded of the children's song 'Paintbox', all about fruits and vegetables, and the line ...........'broad beans are sleeping in their blankety bed' .........., and it's true, they are! Look at this little lot that I disturbed today!


We also picked our first cucumbers and tomatoes, and had them with a bbq for supper. The tomatoes were delicious - so sweet and full of flavour. I hope that we'll be picking them right through to the autumn now.
I've been busy on my swap items, but can't show them to you yet, just in case Nancy or Ethmay are reading this! I've finished the knitted items for Ethmay's teatime swap, and I am really pleased with what I've made. I hope she will be too! I just need to buy a couple of treats and then the parcel will be ready to post. I'm having great fun getting to know Nancy over on Ravelry too . She's got a wicked sense of humour, and it's going to be a great swap, I just know it! I've started a knitted project for her, and I love the colours in the yarn I've chosen. I can't wait to show it to you all!
Remember I told you that I grafted the toe of my first Jaywalker sock last weekend? It's made it onto the sock blocker now. The yarn is lovely and soft - it's merino, soy and nylon. See what you think.

Jaywalker WIP

I've also blocked my Inga bag. It needed some not so gentle tugging and pinning to stretch it out, and it's still not perfect. But hey, I can live with it! I think that I must have crocheted the squares together a little too tightly, but it certainly looks a lot better now that it's blocked into something resembling a bag shape! Here it is all pinned out (and no, I don't co-ordinate my towels to match whatever I'm blocking! This one was top of the pile in the airing cupboard!)

summery sunny bag WIP

I've chosen some fabric to line it with, so I need to be brave now and have a go with the sewing machine! I did go as far as getting it out of its box, and it's sitting on the table, but I need to get a few scraps of fabric from school first and have a little play around before I try with the lining fabric. I love the little pattern on it, don't you?

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Hopefully next week, I'll have a couple of finished bags to show you! I also bought some fabric to make some little lined project bags with, and have found a super online tutorial which I'll share with you next time. Here's the fabric I chose. I think it must be related to the lining I bought first, don't you? Those black squiggles look similar!

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I received a lovely squishy parcel from Ethmay this week - some mini skeins of yarn for my sock yarn blankie. Henrycat never likes to think that he's missing out on anything, and he was reluctant to let me get a proper look at all the little balls.

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I'm sure you'd like a proper look too, wouldn't you? Here they are again, minus the cat!


There are some lovely yarns there, including Jitterbug, Cherry Tree Hill, and two that I've not come across before - Old Maiden Aunt and Ripples. Hmmmmmmmmm, I need to do some more investigating I think! I'm really hoping to get stuck into the blankie over the summer holidays. I've got loads of yarn just begging to become mitred squares!
With all my swap-making this weekend, I wanted to do something quick for myself. I've been admiring other people's little crocheted birds from Attic24, and decided that today was the day for me to make one! So I did. I used up oddments of Patons Sorbet yarn left over from the Attic24 bag. He's quite chunky - obviously a well fed birdie! I've hung him up in my craft room.

Attic24 birdy

Have a lovely week, whatever you've got planned! See you soon. xx

Thursday, 1 July 2010

What a scorcher!

Good evening to you! I meant to blog earlier in the week, but just got caught up with other things. Anyway, better late than never! We had a wonderful time in London. We managed to pick the hottest weekend of the year so far! Saturday was spent at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.

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Despite the heat, we ventured into the Palm House, and emerged, a little droopy and bedraggled! It felt cool coming out in the 30 degree heat!

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There were swathes of brightly coloured flowers ........

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........ heritage trees that have witnessed so much history ........

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..... and some really intricate seed sculptures. I love these sycamore seeds, don't you?

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We went for a treetop walk .......

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....... and admired the massive lily pads in the waterlily house. This was my favourite part, and I could have stayed there all day!

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It's a wonderful green space for the people of London. It never felt crowded, despite all the visitors. We chilled out in the shade of a tree, and whilst Mr JK had a mini-snoozle, I made good progress on my Jaywalker sock!

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On Sunday, we headed back into London, stopping off at the National Portrait Gallery so that I could take a look at the Tudor portraits (my mind's already planning for next year's curriculum!) Trafalgar Square was buzzing with activity - people dipping their feet in the fountains trying to cool off ..........

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...... and enjoying the refreshing spray from the fountains!

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After lunch, we made our way to Hyde Park, and found a space to settle ourselves for the next 8 hours! It was Baking Hot, and there wasn't a scrap of shade anywhere! So we slapped on the suncream, donned our hats and drank gallons of water! There were people as far as you could see in every direction, listening to the various bands playing, watching England lose spectacularly in the World Cup, and relaxing in the sunshine.

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Leading up to Paul McCartney were Elvis Costello, Crowded House and Crosby, Stills and Nash. I really enjoyed Crowded House, as they had a good rapport with the audience. It was great singing 'Weather with You' on such a sunny day! It was almost too hot to knit, but I did manage to finish sock number one and graft the toes whilst standing!

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Finally the great man himself came on stage. Wow! What a concert it was! He played a good mix of Beatles songs, as well as Wings classics and some of his more recent material. Imagine 50,000 plus people all 'na-na-na-ing' along to Hey Jude, and it might give you a hint of the amazing atmosphere!

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It was back to earth with a bump, and an early start to get back up to Norfolk for work on Monday morning! Fab-u-lous!