Sunday, 26 January 2014

Ribbit ribbit!

When you have had a part knit sweater languishing in a bag for more than two years, you know it's time for drastic action! Although I love the Rene sweater, I didn't love the way the yarn was knitting up. It was too dense and stiff to make a really comfortable and cosy fabric, which is what I'm looking for in a winter woolly!
ribbit ribbit! 001


ribbit ribbit! 002

ribbit ribbit! 003


ribbit ribbit! 004


ribbit ribbit! 005

The yarn is currently soaking to relax it before being rewound into lovely fat yarn cakes. This is all part of my pre-Ravellenic training to prepare for my goal. Yes, I am going to try to knit a sweater during the Sochi Winter Olympics. Over in the ThreeBagsFull group on Ravelry, we are having an informal 'no pressure' Ravellenics KAL. I am being very ambitious in aiming for a finished sweater, but I am going for gold!! I do have a week's holiday from school for half term before the end of the Games, so there is a little glimmer of hope! This is the sweater I am hoping to knit. I shall be casting on sometime on February 7th and hope to be done by the end of the closing ceremony on February 23rd!

Are you challenging yourself to knit something during the Winter Olympics too? May the odds be ever in your favour!! xxx 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Battle ongoing!

I have not managed to wrench my cardigan from dear Flo's clutches yet. She is still proving incredibly 'helpful' while I am sewing it together as you can see!

Flo helps with the sewing up! 004

I am confident that victory will be mine eventually! Apart from seaming the cardigan, which I have only been doing when the light is good enough to see properly, I have been knitting a plain vanilla sock for Wolfgang in Germany. I also knit a very quick pair of mitts for my friend Charlotte. They go with the cowl I knit her for Christmas and should help to keep her warm when she is walking her dogs.
Charlotte's mitts (5)

Charlotte's mitts (1)

I am trying to whittle away at my WIPs prior to the Ravellenics starting alongside the Winter Olympics at Sochi. I will tell you more about my targets for the Games another time.
I did receive a squishy parcel this week. I treated myself to a 3 month membership of the Natural Dye Studio Mini-skeins club in a 'happy birthday to me!' moment last December. I very much enjoyed receiving the monthly package last year when I was a member of the Rainbow club. This month's skeins are Angelus, which is a delicious mixture of 70% alpaca, 20% silk and 10% cashmere. I love how the skeins just lead on one to the next. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I signed up!
NDS miniskeins Jan (2)

We have been busy in the kitchen this weekend. Here's a clue to what we have made.......

marmalade making (3)

In a recent blog post, Jenny alerted me to the fact that Seville oranges were available in the shops. So Mr JK bought some this week and we now have 9lbs of delicious Seville orange marmalade. That should keep us going for a good few years! We are just eating up our last jar from a batch made in 2009!

marmalade making (4)

I shall leave you with a photo of Flo. Mr JK came home early this week and caught her 'red pawed'!! I'm not sure which part of 'No, you are NOT allowed on the kitchen worktops!' she doesn't understand!! xxx

while the cat's away ....

Monday, 13 January 2014

I don't like to complain but ......

........ I really feel that I must!

Miaow Miaow Miaow everyone. Florence here! You all know just what great taste I have in yarn. And how I feel it my duty to test out knitting for cosiness and squishability at all times.
flo's new blankie (3)

Flo asleep in yarn box 003

I have been known to 'look after' balls of wool for my Mum too, I keep them safe in my bed!

Flo's babies! 001

Flo and Breakfast Blend 037

A long, long time ago, before we moved into our new house, Mum started knitting with possibly the softest yarn I have ever seen. It was just my colour too. I tried to show her just how much I loved it by stealing the balls of yarn! I was very excited about the idea of such a soft blankie. So I kept a beady eye on the progress of the knitting.
guardian of the mink and cashmere yarn (2)

I was a bit confused as to why my blankie needed to be knit in separate pieces. I'd be happy with a simple square, honestly. It doesn't even need all that fancy cabling she's done (although it does look rather stylish!) Then we moved house and my blankie got packed away in a big box. I felt a bit sad.
As soon as we were settled, I made it my mission to find my blankie. I searched high and low, and finally I found it. I couldn't understand why Mum had left it in a bag by the side of the sofa rather than spread it out for me. Never mind, I soon made myself comfortable!
Flo gets comfy on 'her' mink and cashmere blankie

Oh bliss! To be snuggled into such soft mink and cashmere is something that most pussycats can only dream of!
Last weekend, my blankie got moved. Mum pinned it out on a big mat. I was thrilled to discover that I had not one, not two, not three but four blankies!! What a lucky girl I am. She even steamed them with this strange contraption that I think is called an iron (I don't often see it being used in this house haha!) So my blankies now have lovely straight edges. How kind, I thought!
blocking Milky Mink WIP (4)

Yesterday, Mum put my blanket on the dining table! How weird I thought. Perhaps this is where she wants me to sleep now. Happy to oblige, I hopped up and settled down.
sweater seaming step 1 001

But apparently Mum didn't want me to sleep on there and after a few words, I had to sit on her lap while she put pins in my blankie! Seriously NOT impressed here!
sweater seaming step 1 002

But I had to get back onto my blankie. Ignoring the perils of the pins (I'm very brave!), I took possession of my cosy handknit once again. This time I gave Mum one of my 'looks' and swished my tail vigorously to show her that I wasn't happy! I know it's rude, but sorry, but what else could I do?
sweater seaming step 1 003

I fear that I am not yet victorious in the Battle of the Blankie. I will be back with more news later. Miaow Miaow Miaow! xxx

Sunday, 12 January 2014

A little bit of sunshine

December was rather a dreary and damp month. We have been extremely lucky here and have not experienced the terrible floods that have been happening in some parts of the UK. It's been sunny this weekend for the first time in what feels like ages and even though it was cold, it felt so good to be outside in the sunshine. It just lifts the spirits and makes you think of longer, warmer days to come.
Mr JK and I took advantage of the sun to visit a woodland and water garden near to us. Despite the recent rainfall, the paths were all walkable and we enjoyed views over Ranworth Broad. We stopped off at one of the bird hides and were endlessly entertained by a family of water rats. It made me think of Wind in the Willows and dear old Ratty!

Fairhaven Woodland and Water garden Jan 2014 001

Fairhaven Woodland and Water garden Jan 2014 002

Fairhaven Woodland and Water garden Jan 2014 006

Fairhaven Woodland and Water garden Jan 2014 007

Fairhaven Woodland and Water garden Jan 2014 020

Fairhaven Woodland and Water garden Jan 2014 023

Fairhaven Woodland and Water garden Jan 2014 024

Fairhaven Woodland and Water garden Jan 2014 025

Fairhaven Woodland and Water garden Jan 2014 015

We had a hard frost overnight and the garden felt lovely and crisp this morning. Florence wasn't too keen on walking across the lawn, I think it was a bit chilly for her paws!
January 2014 frosty morning (9)

January 2014 frosty morning (5)

January 2014 frosty morning (6)

January 2014 frosty morning (8)

Flo was not impressed that her favourite seating area was covered in frost!!

She did help me take a photo of a finished knit though - a pair of Roger socks for a dear friend. Flo couldn't resist putting her paw into the frame!!
lilac Roger socks (4)

And just look what I spotted in the borders - bulbs shooting! I do hope that Spring is on its way and we have missed out on snow this year! Roll on warmer, longer days - I cannot wait to be able to sit outside again. xxx
January 2014 frosty morning (4)

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The kindness of friends

I had a LOVELY day in London yesterday. I met up with Katharine, the other moderator of the ThreeBagsFull group on Ravelry. We shopped for fabric and yarn, drank tea and ate cake, chatted and knitted, and of course made lots of plans for events in the group. Katharine told me I needed to bring a suitcase down with me - and I was completely overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of some of my dear friends who sent wonderful treats over for me. I won't even begin to tell you how much chocolate I brought back!!!

I also met up with my dear friend Snoopydog today and we exchanged Christmas gifts. So I included the goodies from Snoops in the photo. Aren't knitter just some of the best people? xxx
kindness of friends (2)

kindness of friends (1)

kindness of friends (3)

Thursday, 2 January 2014

And finally some knitting!

In the run up to Christmas, I was busy trying to get some gift knitting done. (Why do I always leave it so late?!) And since then, despite the temptation of new projects, I have been trying to get my mountain of WIPs reduced. It seems like ages since I actually blogged about some finished knitting, but I have loads to show you today. Hope you are sitting comfortably. Do you need to get a cuppa first? Oh, go on then, I'll wait!!
The first thing I finished was a cowl for my friend Charlotte. She has been suffering from a stiff neck, so I hope this will go some way to keeping her nice and cosy. Sorry the pictures aren't great, but I ran out of time to get a daylight shot. You can find the pattern here.
Charlotte's Gap-tastic Christmas cowl (2)

Charlotte's Gap-tastic Christmas cowl (5)

I already blogged about my Christmas ornament swap with Marianne, but I didn't show you what I sent her. I found a cute snowman pattern on Ravelry and knit up a mini-Frosty for her tree. It was fun to knit although a little bit fiddly. I think a snowman family might be fun for next year, don't you?
Not quite Frosty - swap with Marianne (1)

You may remember that I have been busy with some secret knitting. Well, I can now share some of that with you. I was test knitting a new sock pattern for Kim over on Ravelry. It's her second design and is a really interesting and fun knit. It's called Rain Catchers and you can buy a copy here. We are having an informal KAL in the 'socks, socks, socks .....' thread of the ThreeBagsFull group if you fancy joining us! Anyway, enough of that - feast your eyes on these beautiful socks! (Photos are courtesy of Mr JK!)
Rain Catcher test knit (14)

Rain Catcher test knit (11)

Rain Catcher test knit (9)

Rain Catcher test knit (7)
My dear friend Snoopydog became a grandma again right at the start of the Christmas holidays. I couldn't pass up this opportunity to knit a few baby things, and have managed to rustle up a darling little cardigan .......
Evie's puerperium (4)

Evie's puerperium (3)

........ some cute baby socks .......

Baby socks for Evie (2)

Baby socks for Evie (1)

...... and these sweet little 'Baby Ballerina' slippers!

Baby ballerinas for Evie (2)

Baby socks (1)

Everything is ready to be packaged up and posted off to baby Evie!

While we are on a baby-theme, I also knit another pair of the Cozy Toes socks for baby Otto. The ribbing helps them to stay on wriggly little feet!

Cozy toes no (1)

Finally, for now, I made a crocheted tape measure cover (like the one Marianne gave me) as a gift for a friend. The pattern is a bit vague and I'm sure I made a bit of it up! Even though it was really fiddly to make, I am happy with the way it turned out and can see me making more of these as gifts.

seriously cute tape measure (1)

So I think you're more or less up to date now! My WIPs are reduced and I am going to try to avoid casting on too many new things before I've finished something else. I am off to London on Saturday to meet up with Katharine. She is the other moderator in the ThreeBagsFull group and has been spending the holdiays in the UK. I cannot wait to see her again. We have lots planned including shopping for yarn, fabric, beads and buttons and of course fitting in some knitting, drinking tea and eating cake!! I'll report back on Sunday! xxx