Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Well cushioned!

To celebrate the start of the school holidays, I took a sewing class last Friday. The class was about sewing an Oxford cushion cover, and as you know, I'm quite partial to cushions. I learnt a new technique for hiding a zip, and also how to make the easily recognisable flat edge of the Oxford cushion. (I wonder why it's called that?) The fabric choices were all plain, so I went for a light colour and plan to embellish it in some way. Not too sure how easy it will be to do as it's all stitched together now. It might mean some of the decorations have to be hand sewn!

Oxford cushion (5)

Of course, that made whet my appetite for making more cushions, so yesterday I sewed another Contact Print Cushion. I used some squares from a pack of Kaffe Fassett prints and a gorgeous deep blue for the contrast. 


I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I used a variegated quilting thread in blues and purples which looks quite pretty. Miss Flo loves it too (naturally) - she was fast asleep when I went outside to take photos but her cushion detection skills are obviously very sensitive!!




I'm off to Bedford for a few days for Fibre-East tomorrow. I'm helping to set up on Thursday and Friday, am shopping with Snoopydog on Saturday and volunteering on Sunday. I'll tell you all about it on Monday! No doubt there will be a purchase or two! xxx

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Time for a winner or two!

It's time to announce the winner(s) of my first Stylecraft Blogstars giveaway! Apologies for not posting earlier. I have been catching up with a mountainous pile of jobs that got put on hold before the end of term. Anyway, all the names were put in a hat and the first one out was Carola Willhalm. As Carola is in Germany, I'll be sending her a consolation Stylecraft cloth bag. Next out off the hat was Caz who's in the UK. Phew! So ladies, if you would like to get in touch with me by emailing me - josiekitten123 at gmail dot com (replacing words with symbols), I can get your prizes on their way to you! I wonder what you'll be buying Caz? Some of the new Batik yarn perhaps? It is very lovely and I'm working on a design right now using some of the colours. Carola, you'll have a stylish home for some of your Stylecraft yarn!

giveaway 1 (1)

Thank you to everyone who entered. There will be lots more giveaways in the future thanks to the generous folk at Stylecraft, so keep popping back won't you?! xxx

Edited to add: It's now over a month since the winners were announced, and despite the best efforts of Stylecraft via Facebook, neither person has got in touch with me to claim their prize. So I will be putting the prizes back into the pot for future giveaways. xxx

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 21

Here we are at the end of another Tour de Fleece. It's been brilliant getting back into the routine of more regular spinning and is something that I will try to continue now the Tour is done and dusted. I was asked to share the spinning journey of my most recent project. I am always amazed by the transformation from fibre to yarn and how different it can look between the two. A bit of fibre magic really! Here we go then, hang on to your hats!

TDF fibre choice no 2 (1)

TDF fibre choice no 2 (2)

TDF day  16 (2)

TDF day 17 (1)

TDF day 19 (3)

TDF day 20 (1)


TDF day 20 (3)

I split the original braid in half. One half I spun up exactly as it was and the other I split into lots of thinner strips. That way, I hoped that I'd get lots of barber-pole striping and it looks like I have! I think it will be fun to knit up. Now my next dilemma, what to spin next?! xxx

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 20

The penultimate day of this year's Tour. I started plying again first thing this morning ...


and didn't stop until I couldn't squeeze another cm of yarn onto my bobbin! Satisfyingly plump and colourful. A real stonker of a bobbin!


I love the colours; that surprises me because I am not usually an 'orange' person. I am thinking of an asymmetric shawl to try and use every little bit of yarn! I need to check yardage but I think it's around 400m. A soak tomorrow and then some more photos. xxx

Friday, 22 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 19

Plying has begun! I love the colour combinations very much and would like to treadle my way through the night!! More tomorrow! xxx

TDF day 19 (3)

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 18

Awake at silly o'clock this morning, so finished spinning up the fibre. Just look at all those gorgeous colours! I am excited to see how it looks once it's plied. Come back tomorrow and see for yourself! xxx


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 17

More early morning spinning! It was unbearably hot and sticky last night and I woke early. Managed to spin a good chunk of the remaining fibre. I am impatient to see how it looks once it's been plied. Today was the last day of term, although I have an INSET day tomorrow, so I ought to have more spinning time from then on. xxx

TDF day 17 (2)

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 16

Tour de Fleece day 16

Today is officially a rest day in the Tour, but as I missed spinning on Saturday, I'm playing catch up. I did a little spinning first thing this morning and carried on for a while this evening until Flo demanded my attention. I'm spinning this half of the braid without splitting it into thinner strips and am loving the longer runs of colour. Some amazing dyeing from Hedgehog Fibres. More tomorrow, I can't wait! xxx


Monday, 18 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 15

After a pretty good night's sleep, I was awoken too early by Florence who proudly announced, with that all too familiar throaty meow, that she had a gift for us!! Luckily it turned out to be nothing more than a big moth!! After dozing a  little longer, I came downstairs and enjoyed the cool early morning air with the door to the garden wide open. Spinning accompanied by birdsong was a very peaceful way to start the day. I've spun the first half of the braid now so will start on bobbin two tomorrow. I'm not going to split this half at all, so I ought to get lots of colour variation when I ply. We'll see! xxx

TDF day 15

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 14

I was spinning on autopilot this afternoon after less than 4 hours sleep! Mr JK completed his midnight marathon and by the time we got back to the hotel, it was 4am! Amazingly I did manage to fall asleep, and woke just after 7:30am. So I'm hoping to catch up on some zzzzzzzzz's with an early night very soon! Fingers crossed I will get this bobbin finished tomorrow so I can start on the second. I am looking forward to seeing how it looks once it's plied. That's always a magical moment! xxx

TDF day 14 (1)

Saturday, 16 July 2016

An unofficial rest day

The second official rest day of the Tour is next Tuesday, but I am taking mine a little early to fit in with a visit to Portsmouth (without spinning wheel.) We are here visiting my elderly aunt (99 in September) and Mr JK has managed to find a race too! This evening, when all sensible people are thinking about hunkering down on the sofa in their onesies with tea and chocolate, Mr JK will be adjusting his head torch, checking his laces are tied securely and setting off on a midnight marathon! I know, complete insanity!! The race, along part of the South Downs Way, kicks off at 9pm and I will be there to support him. Once he disappears from view, I won't see him again until he crosses the finish line some 5 hours (or so) later, so I plan to sit in the car with my torch, knitting and plenty of calories so I can carb load for moral support!! I cast on a project using the new Stylecraft Batik yarn yesterday so will be working on that.

In the meantime, I thought I would share a cushion that I sewed recently. It's a gift for a bee-loving friend. I drew out the design myself and used a bee print fabric for the panel edging and cushion back. The more free motion stitching I do, the more I enjoy it. It really is like drawing with a sewing machine. See you tomorrow when I should be back spinning! xxx

Bee cushion (5)

Bee cushion (6)

Bee cushion (7)

Bee cushion (9)

Bee cushion (10)

Bee cushion (2)

Bee cushion (3)

Friday, 15 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 13

Another early start this morning - sigh! But at least it gave me a good chunk of spinning time! I still have a way to go before I've spun the first bobbin. I'm actually surprised by how much I like the colours. This fibre was one of the shipments in Hedgehog Fibres fibre club a long time ago, so the colourway was out of my control. A lesson perhaps to branch out a little and not always play safe with my choices. xxx

Tour de Fleece day 13 (3)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 12

Good morning! I've been awake since 4:40am so decided to be productive and do some spinning! Loving the slightly autumnal shades in this yarn. I'm trying to spin it a little thicker for a 2-ply yarn. I am so used to spinning fine so it will be a challenge! More tomorrow. xxx

Tour de Fleece day 12 (2)

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 11

Mr JK was up bright and early for a session at the gym this morning, so I got up too and finished off plying the remaining yarn on the bobbin. It's actually ended up a fair bit finer than I expected, although I expect it will fluff out a bit after a soak to set the twist. Here's the spinning journey to date...

Tour de Fleece 2016 day 1 (2)


TDF day 5

Tour deFleece day 12 (2)

Tour deFleece day 12 (5)

Tour deFleece day 12 (11)

Tour deFleece day 12 (12)

Tour deFleece day 12 (4)

And here's a sneaky peep at my next spinning project - not my usual colours, but I rather like the combination! I'm planning on a 2-ply yarn for this one! xxx

TDF fibre choice no 2 (1)

TDF fibre choice no 2 (4)

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 10

Yesterday was a rest day in the Tour which gave me time to catch up on my weekend of yarny goodness. Back to the wheel this evening, with some more plying. I managed a good chunk, and with luck I ought to finish my first skein of the TDF 2016 tomorrow. I am already pondering what to spin next and when I've narrowed down the choices a little, you'll be the first to know! xxx

Tour de Fleece day 11 (2)

My name's Josiekitten and I'm a Stylecraft Blogstar!

Do you know what it's like to have a delicious secret that you are absolutely bursting to tell but can't?! At long last I can share the news that I have been asked to be one of Stylecraft's blogstars! You may remember that last year I took part in their blog tour and designed a cushion which used the new colours in Stylecraft Special DK yarn. Fast forward a few months and several emails, and Friday afternoon saw me heading up to Slaithwaite in Yorkshire, the mothership of Stylecraft. 



Those of us who travelled up on Friday were wined and dined to perfection by Annabelle Hill, the Sales and Marketing Director at Stylecraft and Juliet Bernard of Blue Bear, a Strategic and Social Marketing company. On Saturday we all met up at the mill. Oh my word, what a wonderful day. We sat around a table laden with bowls packed full of tempting new yarn, listening to Annabelle and Juliet outlining the Blogstar programme and finding out about some of the themes influencing the newest yarns in Stylecraft's range.  Let me tell you, there are some real treats in store for you! 


Stylecraft blogstars meeting July 2016 (18)


We were each given an amazing goodie bag full of all kinds of yarny delights. Of course Florence wanted a snoop when I unpacked it back at home. I think she was probably eyeing up her next blanket! 


Stylecraft goodie bag (6)

There were colour cards for Yarn Stories, which is a beautiful range of yarn spun at the mill, a folder with all the Stylecraft yarns in it, project bags, Stylecraft key rings, chocolate, a  set of Knit Pro Karbonz interchangeable knitting needles, samples of the new yarns/colourways and a complete set of all 16 colours of their new yarn, Batik, which is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. The colours are wonderfully soft with an almost stonewashed look, and I have lots of ideas bubbling away for how to use up every last cm of my pack! Sue Pinner has already designed some crochet projects which we were all able to ooh and aah over - this one is my favourite. 

Stylecraft goodie bag (1)

Stylecraft goodie bag (3)


There was also a pack of tags to attach to projects - great fun! Very hard to pick a favourite but I really like the one near the bottom of this photo! 


I was very excited to learn that Stylecraft are going to be releasing a range of sock yarns in the summer - be still my beating heart! I cannot wait to see what colours they are - some self striping and others more graduated. Yum! As soon as I know more, I'll let you know.

It was wonderful to be able to meet up with a group of people just as passionate about yarn as I am - people who simply 'get it' and don't think it odd!! I've been reading some of their blogs for many years, and have discovered new ones too. If you click here, you'll be able to see who else is part of the Blogstars. Plans are already underway for our next get together. Can't wait! 

Here's a photo of all the bloggers who were there on Saturday. Se if you recognise anyone! Back row - from left to right, Sandra (Cherry Heart), Julia (Hand Knitted Things), me and Sarah (Annaboo's House); front row from left to right, Kathryn (Crafternoon Treats), Heather (The Patchwork Heart), Phil (The Twisted Thread), Lucy (Attic24) and Sue (Shropshire Scrapper Suz). Missing from the get together were Jane (Jane Knits)  Emma (Emma Varnam) and Angela (Get Knotted Yarn Craft).


It was a wonderful day and I drove back to Norfolk from Yorkshire in a bit of a yarny daze! Thank you to Annabelle, Juliet and Sophie for looking after us all so well. I really do feel incredibly lucky to have been invited to join this amazingly talented group of crocheters and knitters and would love to share a little of my good fortune with you. Stylecraft have very generously given me some vouchers for yarn to use as prizes on my blog over the coming months, so I thought it might be fun to give the first one away right now! If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a £5 voucher for Stylecraft yarn, all you need to do is leave me a comment telling me what your favourite Stylecraft yarn is. These vouchers have to be exchanged at a 'bricks and mortar' shop in the UK and can't be redeemed online, so I'm sorry that I can't send one to you if you're living overseas. But I'll send you a Stylecraft project bag instead as a consolation prize if your name gets picked, so please tell me if you're in the UK or overseas when you comment. I'll leave the competition open until midnight on Saturday 23rd July, so there's plenty of time to enter. Then I'll use a random number generator to pick one lucky winner! Good luck! xxx

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