Sunday, 26 September 2010

Bag lady

Beaten! 015

Hello there! I admit it - the cold, damp weather has finally beaten me, and today I put on my first pair of socks since May! I usually manage to hold off until half term, but I'm conceding defeat as I'd rather have cosy toes! It has been truly miserable here in Norfolk all weekend. The rain has been lashing against the windows, and the wind has been well and truly battering the garden. Mr JK and I went to see Marty Wilde and the Wild Cats on Cromer pier last night, and it was so windy that you could actually feel the whole pier shaking inside the theatre. A little disconcerting!

Mr JK did venture out into the garden in a dryish spell, to pick some veggies for dinner.

wind-swept garden veg

The cabbages and cauliflowers are looking great, and we've had a bumper crop of celery. Far too much for us to eat, so Mr JK is taking a whole load into work tomorrow. We've made a couple of batches of soup, and they are in the freezer, but I must admit that I don't know what else to do with it. If you have any recipes, please do share them with me!

I finally finished sewing up the baby stripes cardigans. Mattress stitch no longer scares me, and it is extremely satisfying pulling the yarn up and watching the little seam pop itself over. But I have had enough of matching stripes for the moment! The green and deep pinky/red colour is for baby Art, born a week into September.

Baby stripes 3 018

I know I keep going on about it, but I just can't get over how much the sewing up makes or breaks a garment. I shudder when I look back at some of my early attempts - bodged oversewn seams! A thing of the past!!

Baby stripes 3

The other babystripes set is still waiting for its buttons, as the baby isn't due for another week or so. I have some perfect 'girl' buttons, but am less happy with my 'boy' ones. I just haven't seen anything really nice. If you know of any online, please point me in the right direction. Thanks!

Babystripes 2

My stripy sock is progressing steadily with the odd snatched minute in the staffroom, and my Katerina shawl now stands at 11/40 repeats.

I've joined two Knit-alongs on Ravelry. The first is a mystery sock KAL, with 5 clues to be released weekly from 1st October. I've never knitted something without a photo to see if I'm doing it right, so it's going to be a bit different! Do you fancy joining me? If so, all the information you need is here. I've chosen my yarn - it's a semi-solid yarn from The Thylacine in a shade called Flax Lily. I'm all ready now for clue 1!

Mystery KAL WIP (3)

The second KAL I've joined is in a newly formed group on Ravelry. Some of you may already follow Amanda's blog. She has an incredibly talented daughter, Lily, who must be about 12 or 13 now, and Lily has started creating her own designs. The group is supporting Lily and the first KAL is just starting - the McCafferty shawl. I'm using some of the alpaca I brought back from France, in a soft grey colour. The name is 'brume' which translates as mist, and I'm hoping that it will make a lovely light shawl to wrap myself up in this winter. I've unearthed some beads, and will contemplate adding some when I get to the border. I haven't got very far, as I need a circular needle, so I couldn't stretch it out very much for the photo. I'm using my lovely, non-snagging stitch markers. They are great!

McCafferty WIP

I have two new bags to share with you this week. The first one I have been lusting after since KnitNation, when they were given out at the Ravelry party. They proved so popular, that more were produced, in a tote bag style. I think it's pretty true to say that I have been stalking the Ravelry shop on a daily basis waiting for them to appear. So as soon as they did, I put two in my basket (one for me and one for Snoopydog, of course!), and they arrived extremely quickly. I just love all the little details that have gone into the design - lots of knitting and crochet notions included. See how many you can spot! (And yes, it already has yarn in it!)

KnitNation bag (2)

The second bag is a new handbag. Now I don't really 'do' bags, but this one called out to me last week when I went to Norwich, and I couldn't resist it. It has lots of separate sections, so I can organise my stuff. My current bag only has one big compartment, so finding anything requires a lot of digging and delving! No longer. Just look! (And it goes rather well with my purple jacket that I bought 'for best' last year, and so consequently, never wore it! So I'm wearing it every day now!)

bag lady!

Henrycat didn't want to be disturbed today, so this is the best that I could do. I think he has the right idea, bearing in mind what it's been like outside all weekend!

Don't disturb me please

Well, I think I've caught you up with the happenings in Josiekitten's little world this week. I'm off to have a mug of tea and some hot, buttered crumpets. Yum yum! Have a good week, whatever you're doing! xx

Sunday, 19 September 2010

All wound up

work-life balance (1)

Hello there! The mug pretty much sums up my week! Oh how I'd love to be able to spend more time knitting, but work keeps getting in the way! Mr JK bought me the Belgian bun for lunch today to cheer me up, and rather yummy it was too! I spotted the mug when we were on holiday in Cornwall in May, and needless to say, as well as buying one for myself, I also got one for my dear friend Snoopydog! I know that if I like something, she will too! Great when you're present-shopping!

How has your week been? As I said, school is still Hard Work! My class are going to be good fun, but they are what I would call individuals, and don't really 'do' working together at the moment. We did have great excitement this week when the Round Britain Cycle Race went right past our school. Needless to say, we all stood outside and cheered them on. They went by in a blur, literally! I tried to take some photos, but my little camera just isn't up to the job! Take a look and you'll see what I mean!

Round Britain Cycle Race 064

I've been having to spend a lot of time in the evenings planning and preparing work, and that's eaten into my knitting time! My poor little brain can't cope with anything complicated, so it's been a plain sock for me if I've had the odd moment. Yet again, I'm using a Trekking yarn, and the colours are fabulous. I know that Michael is going to love them. After the last pair I gave him, he sent me a lovely card, saying....

'My sock drawer explodes into a myriad of colours every time I open it - such fun!'

so I know that they'll be appreciated.

stripy socks for Michael WIP (1)

I've also picked up my Katerina shawl this week. I made great headway with it back in May, but it's been hidden away in a project bag ever since we got home. I only have the main 4 row repeating lace pattern to do, and it is actually dead easy. I have to do 40 repeats, so am trying to do one repeat every day to try and get it finished. Total as I write - 5/40! Keep checking back to see how I get on. I'm aiming to have it finished by half term. We shall see!

I popped down to Norwich yesterday to do a bit of shopping, and also to see Snoopydog. She has very kindly passed on lots of Year 4 resources which should make my life a lot easier! I gave her the mug, which she loved (Mr Snoopydog just rolled his eyes!!) We spent a pleasant time chatting and catching up, as we hadn't had a chance since KnitNation. I took along some skeins of yarn to wind on Snoops' ballwinder. I wanted to make some pretty yarncakes! Hmmmmmmmmm! The least said about that the better! This is the little lot I was hoping to wind (and I did have sooooooooooo much fun rifling through my stash to choose!)

all wound up! (2)

We sat outside in the sun, with Oscar the dog keeping us company. Skein one went pretty smoothly. Skein two somehow got tangled, and we ended up winding the last quarter from the other end, and then back onto the yarn cake! Skein three - well, I'm not sure that I even want to go there! It was the lovely skein of Handmaiden Casbah sock yarn I received from Cathy in Canada. The first quarter went fine, and then there was a tangle! I don't understand how it can happen, but happen it did! We ended up winding the rest of the skein from the other end (although not straightforward, as it had to be passed under a loop of yarn each round!) to make a ball.

all wound up! (3)

It should then have been plain sailing, winding from the ball onto the yarn winder to make the lovely yarn cake. I must have taken my eye off the job for a couple of seconds, or maybe I just got a bit too enthusiastic with the winder. Anyway, the yarn got tangled up in the mechanism, and the only solution was to cut it!!!!!!!! Several rude words were uttered, and I decided not to push my luck winding the Wollmeise yarn! I'll do it by hand! Seriously though, if anyone has any experience of ball winders and swifts, I'd love to know if this is a regular occurrence, did I do something wrong (is there a right end and a wrong end to start winding from?) or was I just unlucky? I had been thinking of asking Mr JK to buy me a ball winder and swift for Christmas, but now I'm not so sure. Here are the end products of our labours (I say 'our' because I really couldn't have managed without Snoopydog!)

all wound up! (4)

The yarncakes on the left are the Koigu yarn that Erin kindly gave me at KnitNation - I'm going to make a spiral scarf with it. And on the right is the delicious Casbah (the shade is Blackberry.) I think that I might make a Travelling Woman shawl with it. Oscar kept us company, although he'd much rather have been running around the garden! Even though I'm not a doggy person at all, I have to admit that he is rather gorgeous! He's perfected the art of looking cute in photos!

Oscar (4)

It's been a bit of a dismal day here on the North Norfolk coast - rainy and a definite nip in the air. The leaves on our copper beech tree are rapidly falling, and the spiders are seeking sanctuary in the house. I'm not great with our 8 legged friends, and Mr JK is even worse, so I was somewhat alarmed when what I can only describe as a first cousin once removed to a tarantula scuttled across the floor. Henrycat didn't even bat an eyelid - his spider-chasing days are long gone! I had to trap it in a glass, and then release it outside. GULP! It did brighten up slightly late afternoon, and Mr JK was able to collect some goodies from the garden. We are still inundated with tomatoes, and the rapsberries are ripening a few at a time - enough for me to have some on my porridge every morning! While we were outside, a lone spitfire plane flew low overhead to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. It was a spine-tingling moment.

september harvest 003

I shall leave you with a photo of Henrycat - he insisted, after seeing Oscar, that he should also appear! Have a good week, whatever you're doing. See you soon! xx

Henrycat 002

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Rather quiet on the knitting front

Hello there, me again! It's been an almost completely non-knitting week here, I'm sorry to say. School has been monopolising my evenings much more than I would like! I've changed year groups at school, so the curriculum is new to me, and I'm having to start from scratch making resources and planning activities. My class is quite nice, but oh dear me, I'd quite forgotten how demanding eight year olds are! They expect my undivided attention, and have no clue about waiting! Still, I'll train them!
My Hooting Henry has proved very popular, and I have 19 children signed up to join my knitting club, including 3 boys! I spent one day after school casting on each owl, ready for knitting. I shall be staggering the start over the next three weeks, and using the children who learnt to knit last year as teachers as well. As you can see from the photo, green owls are in vogue in this part of Norfolk!

ready to knit owls!

I finally finished my garter stitch scarf, started way back at the end of March. It's simple enough, using a skein each of Colinette Tao and Parisienne. It's knitted on two different sizes of needles - 4mm for the Tao silk and 10mm for the Parisienne mohair. I found the larger needles really cumbersome to use. I guess I'm too used to knitting socks on 2.5mm dpns! It does feel really lovely - light, floaty and luxurious, and I know that I'm going to enjoy wearing it.

silk scarf 001

I shall have to make sure that I keep Henrycat's claws well away from it - it's just the sort of fabric that he would get well and truly caught up in, and pull some threads in the process of escaping!

silk scarf 002

The first of the babystripe cardigans has been given as a gift to baby Lily. I chose little flower buttons eventually, and while they are very pretty, they aren't terribly practical, as the petal edges catch on the buttonholes! Still, they can always be changed if they drive the mum mad!

baby stripe 1 buttons 003

That's all the news from here! Have a good week, whatever you're up to. See you soon! xxx

Monday, 6 September 2010

Time flies

I knew I should have taken a leaf out of Snoopydog's book when I saw her make her weekend blog post on Saturday rather than Sunday! Silly me thought that I'd have plenty of time yesterday for that! How wrong I was! Despite having been on holiday from school for almost six weeks, the start of term always seems to creep up on me. Although I've been into school several times, and my classroom was all ready to rock and roll, and I've had planning meetings with colleagues way back in July, I still needed to get my head around what we were actually going to be doing in class today! So Sunday was mostly spent sorting out exactly that!
Since getting back from Greece, I've been busy trying to finish all those things that I most ambitiously wrote on my summer holidays 'to do' list! Mr JK always teases me about the lists that I make, but it gives me great satisfaction to cross things off as they get done. However, there were still rather a lot of things left that needed doing this week, which has really cut into my knitting time. Infact, I've hardly picked up the knitting needles, possibly because I'm not allowing myself to start anything new until I've finished some of the older projects! Hmmmmmmmm, I think I've heard that before somewhere! I also have sewing up to do, which I need to be in the right mood for.
Anyway, I promised to show you what I managed to get knitted during my holiday in Greece. Despite the heat, I knitted every day. Mr JK commented that he didn't see anyone else knitting on the beach, but it didn't stop me! Oh no! I managed to complete two pairs of socks, and knit all the pieces for two more baby stripe cardigans, plus two little matching hats, as well as make a start on a lacy shawl. Initially, I'd had very grand ideas about making this a beaded affair, but luckily common sense prevailed, and I started to knit it as per the pattern. Not being a very experienced lace knitter, and only having a photocopy of the pattern with me because I didn't want to take the whole magazine, I wasn't 100% sure that the pattern looked right. I sent an emergency text to Snoopydog on holiday (with her laptop!) in Pickering, asking her to look for any errata. She found none, but I wasn't confident enough to carry on with it, so it got put to one side. On returning home, I was able to see from the photos on Ravelry and in the magazine that I was right! It's going to take me a while to knit, because I can't have any distractions whilst knitting it (Don't ask me how I know that! Thank goodness for lifelines is all I'm prepared to say!)
I made a pair of socks for Mr JK in a Regia World Ball yarn, colourway Germany. I'm going to insist that he wears them when we go over to Bremen to see his uncle at the end of the month!

Mr JK's homeland socks

I also made a pair of socks for my boss's birthday - they are wrapped up all ready to be given tomorrow. The yarn is a Trekking one - they always knit up nicely!

Beryl's birthday socks

The baby knits still need sewing up, so I'll show you them next time. The first baby, Lily, was born at the weekend, so she will be having the little aqua and cream striped set I showed you before. I found some lovely cream flower buttons that I might use, or else I have some aqua hearts.
Here's the shawl - I've done the intial set up pattern plus three repeats of the main pattern. It needs fourteen all together! I just pinned it out so I could see the emerging pattern more clearly.

beach party shawl WIP

I also knitted up a little owl, Hooting Henry, for my school knitting club. The pattern is from Kids Learn to Knit by Lucinda Guy. One of the children in my knitting group brought it in, and I borrowed it from her over the summer! There are some quite nice, simple ideas in there. We are going to be knitting him in garter stitch, as we have yet to learn how to purl! I think that they will have fun decorating them, once the knitting is done!

Hooting Henry 001

On Saturday, we made the most of the weather and went out and about. We headed over to East Ruston in North Norfolk, as we wanted to visit a garden there, the Old Vicarage. It really is a most interesting place to look around, and Mr JK and I have decided to get a season ticket for next year. It's packed full of interesting plants, and a maze of pathways leading around.

Old Vicarage East Ruston

En route to East Ruston, we stopped off to pick some Victoria plums - 4kg to be precise, and Mr JK has started making some plum wine. The orchards were laden with fruit, the branches almost groaning under their weight.

something's cooking

We also bought some pickling onions, and on Saturday evening, Mr JK produced this little lot, which we shall enjoy over Christmas, with some good cheese and a homemade sausage roll or two!

something's cooking (2)

I've done another yarn swap with my Ravelry friend CathyA, in Ottawa, Canada. We've done a couple of swaps over the past year - one yarn and the second, fibre. This time we decided to swap both, and my parcel arrived super-quick from Canada on Friday. It had only been posted on Tuesday, so it was amazing! Cathy was extremely generous, and her parcel was full of yarny goodness. Firstly, some laceweight yarn with bison in it. It is incredibly soft, and I would imagine will also be very warm. It's a beautiful shade of blue, and I think that it's going to become a Citron shawl. And even better, Cathy has already wound it for me using her new electric ball winder! Thanks!

Canada swap 2010 (5)

Secondly, some fibre in lovely purple shades from Waterloo Wools. The yarn is from the Falkland Islands, and feels very soft.

Canada swap 2010 (6)

Lastly, there was a fabulous shawl pin. I don't have one, and Cathy thought that it would be useful as I've just started knitting lace. What a great idea! It's really pretty.

Canada swap 2010 (2)

My parcel hasn't arrived in Canada yet, so I won't spoil the surprise, just in case Cathy reads this! I did make all my purchases at KnitNation, so that may just give you a clue as to one or two of the things I've sent her!
Righto, I'd better get back to lesson planning now. Hope you have a good week, whatever you're doing! xx