Sunday, 26 March 2017

Midnight companion update

Hello there, I hope you've been enjoying the sunshine this weekend.  It's been beautiful here - blue skies and warm sun. Flo and I went and sat on the bench at the bottom of the garden and she had her first brush of the year. Mr JK was always her preferred groomer, but it appears that I will do too! The garden has suddenly sprung into life which is rather daunting. It was definitely Mr JK's domain and whilst I like the garden to look nice, I don't especially want to spend a lot of my time working in it. I'd prefer to be doing crafty things. 

Flo loves being outside if there's human company - she soaks up the sun on the warm paving stones and dashes around, hurling herself up the trees! And then all the activity becomes too much and she flakes out!

I thought I'd share the progress on my Midnight Companion blanket with you. It's grown rather a lot over recent weeks, which is a reflection of my completely rubbish sleeping still. I started the blanket off very soon after Mr JK died and I was lying awake for hours on end. I needed a mindless project that was soothing to work on and a Granny Square blanket fit the bill perfectly. I had a blanket's worth of Stylecraft Special DK that I'd picked out at Ally Pally a couple of years back, so used that, completely at random, to make large Granny Squares with 19 rounds. I used Attic24's joining as you go method for the 20th round, and did this round in the same colour - Parchment - to link them all together. Now all the squares are done and the border is underway. I've had assistance from Flo on more than one occasion this week. 

And the cheeky madam even sniffed it out during the day. The fact that it's unfinished clearly didn't faze her! (Oh those ends, don't look!!)

I'm planning on a fairly deep border using Parchment with perhaps a scalloped final round. What do you think? I'm open to suggestions as I do have enough of some of the colours to go round the edge in double crochet.

I still have all the ends to deal with so if anyone can recommend a good tutorial for weaving in ends on Granny Square blankets, please tell me. I've not been satisfied by how neatly I can hide them in previous blankets I've made.

Thank you for all the sock love by the way. I put the pattern on my Ravery page and was very excited to see it climb into the top 30 'hot right now' patterns (albeit briefly!) over the weekend. There's still time to enter my giveaway to win Stylecraft vouchers to buy yarn here and my Paying it Forward giveaway is still open too - check it out here.

One more week of school before the Easter holidays. I have a few things planned and I also want to spend some time sorting things out at home. Fingers crossed that we see some sunshine! xxx

Monday, 20 March 2017

Mountain climbing with Foothold socks

Last summer when Stylecraft launched their range of sock yarns, Head over Heels, I spent a blissful few weeks in August playing around with stitch patterns. I even took the new yarns for a holiday to Greece with me and worked on some designs in the sunshine! 

I was just at the point of publishing one of these patterns last October when Mr JK died and everything got put on the back burner. Fast forward to December when I was asked by Stylecraft if I had a sock pattern that they could use to launch two new colours in the range! Oh my word, what an emotional day that was! I was delighted to have had a pattern commissioned but also sad because I so wanted to share the news with Mr JK. He would have been very, very proud of me, I know it. Yarn arrived in the post and I spent the Christmas holidays knitting feverishly and working out the stitch counts for different sock sizes. The end result is my Foothold socks.

I love the little ridges on the leg and foot; they remind me of those ledges and shelves that climbers use to get a foothold when climbing. That's how the sock got its name. These photos (taken by Mr JK back in September) show the original sock design. The ribbing on the cuff has changed to a 1 by 1 ribbed cuff as I jiggled around with stitch counts for the various sizes, but I wanted to share these pictures of the very first design off the needles!

There are now eight colourways in the Head over Heels yarn range - all named after mountains. I love the happy yarny smile they're making in this photo, don't you? The yarn is super to knit with and washes really well. The socks I've knitted using the yarn are lovely and soft too. I'm not just saying that, it's true! I've knitted over a hundred  pairs of socks and believe me, life is too short to be knitting with nasty yarn! The two new additions to the range are in the middle - Sugar Loaf (the pastel coloured ball) and Etna (the deep bluey/pink ball.) Let's have a bit of a closer look at the colours...

So how do they look in the socks? Rather nice, if I do say so myself! My photos are not brilliant as I was frantically finishing off the socks when I went up to the last Stylecraft Blogstars meet up, so I had to take a few quick pics with the socks laid out on the bed in my hotel room! (I didn't manage to finish the third pair until I was back home in Norfolk!)

The photo above shows the three sizes, from left to right - small (in Everest), medium (in Etna) and large (in Eiger.) The pattern is a 12 row repeat and is simple enough for new sock knitters to have a go. Keep your eyes peeled as I'm planning to have a Foothold KAL in the coming months. It would be great if you were able to join me! 

I was sent some of the pattern leaflets last week - squee!! So exciting! 

I believe that the leaflet will be available at Stylecraft stockists, along with others for a cute baby cardigan and a shawl, and you can also download a copy free here

Here are a couple more photos of the ridged pattern - can you tell that I'm rather pleased with it?!

So, how would you like to win some yarn vouchers and other Stylecraft goodies to be able to knit your own pair of Foothold socks? Silly question! Yes, of course you would! I'm offering three prizes of 2 x £5 Stylecraft vouchers (which  can only be redeemed in a bricks and mortar yarn shop in the UK) along with an assortment of Stylecraft goodies. If you enter from overseas and are a winner, I don't mind going to my LYS and redeeming the vouchers on your behalf and mailing you the yarn. To enter, please take a look at all the colours in the Head over Heels range here and tell me which is your favourite. Make sure that you leave me your Ravelry name/Instagram name/some other way of getting in touch with you if you're a winner. The giveaway will run until midnight on April 2nd and then I'll use a random number generator to pick the winners. I'll be in touch with the winners soon afterwards and if I haven't heard back within a week, I'll pick more winners at random. Hope that's answered any questions you might have so I now declare this giveaway open! Good luck everyone! xxx

PS This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Book wars

I am currently being seduced by two books that have arrived chez josiekitten in the past week or so. Remember last month when I took a class in Brioche knitting at Unravel? Well I decided that I needed to have a copy of one of Nancy's books - and this was the one that she recommended to us. It has everything you need to master Brioche knitting and lots of patterns to practise and show off your new skills. 

My favourite scarf from Unravel was this one, knit in Kidsilk Haze ...

and the pattern is in the book! I don't have any KSH in my stash and I would probably be better starting off with a project in an 'easier to knit/unpick' yarn to be honest, but this one just keeps niggling away at me! 

The other book that I'm savouring is Kate Davies' latest offering - Inspired by Islay. I joined the Inspired by Islay club last year and it really was a fantastic one. For the bargainous sum of £30, members received a pattern each week for twelve weeks, as well as a discount on Kate's yarn, weekly newsletters and a printed version of all the patterns in the form of a book. The photography is outstanding and there is, as you would expect from Kate, a wealth of information about Islay. It makes me want to visit this beautiful part of the world. 

If you're a regular reader, you probably know that I have a bit of a love for bright colours and I am rather smitten with one of the sweaters in the book which features a rainbow yoke. Again, I don't have the yarn for it right now so it will have to sit on the back burner for the future. But it is rather lovely, don't you think?! What books are catching your attention right now? xxx

Monday, 13 March 2017

Time for giveaway no.3!

As promised, I'm back to share with you the treats I'm giving away this month. I picked up a pack of miniskeins from Rosie's Moments when I was at Unravel recently along with a badge and postcard set from TillyFlopdesigns.

To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is leave a comment on the blog by midnight on March 31st and I'll pick a winner using a random number generator at the beginning of April. Good luck and thanks for entering! xxx

ETA Please make sure that you give your Ravelry/Instagram name or some other way that I can contact you should you be the winner. Thanks.

Sunday, 12 March 2017


This week has involved a lot of sharing!

Patchwork quilts!

My lap and late night hooky time!

My latest sewing project!

My new bedding!

Flo does like to be kept in the loop with what's going on! I don't mind though, she really is a darling and I'm so happy she's around. I'll be back tomorrow with details of the next Pay it Forward giveaway so make sure you stop by! xxx

Sunday, 5 March 2017

A quilt in a day

I took a sewing class yesterday at the amazing Sew Creative. I've popped in there a few times on my trips back and forth between Norfolk and Portsmouth and the welcome has always been warm. Jo is bursting with creative energy and has a wealth of workshops on offer. I particularly wanted to learn how to make a quilt, with all the finishing touches, so have been very keen to take one of the 'Sew a quilt in a day' classes. When I spotted that there was a class running on a Saturday, I booked a place. The class uses a pack of 54 5" charm squares and I picked out a rather lovely batik collection called 'Latitude' by Kate Spain. It was so interesting to see how the quilt came together and I shall definitely be making more, now that I know how to attach the backing and binding. I think Snoopydog and I will have a sewing day together over the Easter holidays so I can show her how to make one. To say I am pleased with it is a bit of an understatement! I love the soft colours of all the batiks blending together. The pattern is called a 'disappearing nine patch' and it's very clever how it all works. When I make another one, I'll show you how it all comes together. In the meantime, here are a couple of photos ...

At the moment, it's on the arm of the sofa, and I'm sure it won't be long before I find Flo curled up on it. What's mine is hers after all! I need to do a little more quilting on it, so will probably do that next weekend. 

I bought some rather pretty fibre for spinning from Marianne over at Picperfic's Fluff-n-Stuff this week. Marianne's colours are always gorgeous and I couldn't resist this braid. I just need more hours in the day to do all the creative things I'd like to! The tulips were from a friend, such a lovely gesture. 

Before I go, I must tell you who's won the February giveaway. There were 42 entries in total within the time limit and the random number generator picked number 6 - Sarah Young. Congratulations Sarah, I will be in touch with you on Ravelry to get your address. Thank you everyone for entering. There'll be another giveaway soon; I picked up a couple of treats at Unravel especially! In case you were concerned about Flo, since she hasn't featured in any photos so far, here's a picture I snapped this morning, before the rain came down!  Have a good week! xxx