Sunday, 28 May 2017

And breathe ...

It's the start of half term and it's been a warm weekend here in Norfolk. We had a brief thunderstorm yesterday but it's felt sticky today and I'd like it to cool down a little for the rest of the week so I can get a few things done. Holidays have always been like little beacons of light, something to look forward to and treasure every single minute of. But since Mr JK died, I've found the holidays pretty difficult. Work keeps me busy and stops me from having too much thinking time; whereas holidays, with a lot more time spent alone, can be tough going. Bearing that in mind, I've tried to set myself lots of little tasks this week, along with a couple of days out, and meeting up with friends too, which will hopefully leave me in a better frame of mind than at Easter.

I've been in the garden today, trying to get the lawn looking more lawn-like and less like a moss and clover patch! There are so many weeds trying to invade all the beds, it's a bit overwhelming. I'm trying to clear a bit each day. There are lots of flowers fighting their way through though and that is so good to see. Here are a few that I snapped today...

I've finished knitting the first of my handspun 'Lovehearts' socks and am pretty pleased with how it's turned out. Fingers crossed I will have enough yarn left to knit its partner and then they will be headed into the sock drawer ready for the autumn. The yarn is between a 4ply and DK in weight, so I have fudged the pattern. But it fits! Believe me, I only kept it on for the time it took to get a photo. It's definitely not sock-wearing weather now. 

I have a fair bit of secret knitting and crochet coming up so won't really be able to share much of what's on the needle or hook with you. But it is all rather exciting and I feel very lucky to have been asked to come up with some new designs. I am playing around with lots of stitch patterns and swatches right now. 

I treated myself to a couple of new publications this week - the special 5th anniversary edition of PomPom magazine and the latest edition of Making. Both are beautiful and I'm still savouring my way through them. If you want something special, I can recommend them both.

I took myself up to Blickling this morning - even though I went early, it was still pretty warm. All the bluebells are long gone, but I heard a cuckoo as I made my way through the woods. The rabbits and squirrels were darting about too, it's a magical place and I'd love to be able to sit there and watch the woodland creatures wake up one morning.

Someone commented recently that they'd missed seeing Flo in my post, so I'm posting a photo of her being rather lazy as she took up residence on the bed for the morning. She doesn't like the hot weather very much, bless her. 

If you've not yet entered my May Pay it Forward giveaway, you've only got a couple of days left to do so here.  I'll be on the lookout for goodies for my next giveaway this week. xxx

Sunday, 21 May 2017

My week in a nutshell...

Going to see the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with my dear friend Snoopydog.

Flo (hopefully) locating the whereabouts of the resident rodent. She brought in a mouse and then lost interest and it's been in hiding since!

Early morning sock knitting with Flo. She does love to snuggle.

Talking to Mr JK in the summer sunshine. His silver birch tree is looking beautiful.

Avocado on toast for lunch - I am addicted to them. Even nicer when topped with a poached egg or two!

An early morning visit to Blickling - the bluebells are almost all gone now. 

Dog walking with Snoops around Whitlingham - Oscar loves swimming and chasing his tennis ball.

Relaxing after our walk - Oscar sleeping while Snoops and I knit our socks. A very pleasant way to while away the afternoon. Have a good week. xxx

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Rediscovering my mojo

Hello there, thanks for stopping by. I have some good news for you - I think I have found my long-lost mojo. Over the past months, I have really struggled to focus on any kind of crafting project. Apart from my Midnight Companion granny square blanket and a couple of pairs of socks, I've not done much at all and my finished projects page on Ravelry looks rather paltry. So what's happened? Let me take you back a couple of weeks when my fellow Stylecraft Blogstar Kathryn, aka Crafternoon Treats, came to stay for the weekend. I really enjoyed showing Kathryn around my part of Norfolk and we packed a lot in to a short space of time. 

We went for a walk around the bluebell woods at the local National Trust property, Blickling Hall. The woods are really spectacular at this time of the year - a mass of blue. 

I also took Kathryn to the nearby village of Worstead; the village has a huge tradition of weaving and it's where Worsted cloth got its name. We followed the Worstead heritage trail around the village and saw a number of buildings that had been important in days gone by. There was even a weaving loom in the church that belongs to the local weaving and spinning guild.

We had a lot of fun over the weekend - including a Blogstars gingerbread man Bake Off challenge! 

A trip up to the north Norfolk coast had to be fitted in too, so we went to Wells-next-the-Sea and walked along the beach and back through the pinewoods, stopping off for tea and cake as you do! 

Kathryn told me a lot about her venture into yarn dyeing. She has her own Etsy shop that you can find here and then yarn is all 100% British wool, ethically produced and fully traceable from named farms. She also makes whimsical stitch markers and sent me a set. I treated myself to a skein of her yarn too. I loved the colours in this skein - Iris. Everything comes beautifully packaged with a Yorkshire Gold teabag and a free stitch marker.  

Kathryn also brought her spinning wheel with her and so we spent Saturday evening spinning while chatting. I hadn't done any spinning since last summer's Tour de Fleece, but I rummaged and pulled out a braid of fibre from Picperfic's Fluff-n-Stuff, one of my favourite fibre dyers and got started. I chose a braid of Blue Faced Leicester and nylon with the plan of spinning for socks. I N-plyed the singles to keep the colours together and hopefully have some stripes! I had forgotten just how relaxing spinning is. Once I'd started spinning, I couldn't stop! It's magical how fibre can be turned into yarn - an age-old craft that's no more complicated today than in the past.

I wound my yarn into a satisfyingly fat yarn cake and cast on for a pair of socks. I just want to keep knitting so I can wear them! 

So it's all thanks to Kathryn that I've got some of my mojo back. It feels good to be knitting again. Hopefully I'll have a finished sock by the next time I blog! Don't forget there's still time to enter my May Pay it Forward giveaway here too. Have a good week. xxx