Sunday, 25 June 2017

Another week...

Yet another week has passed by. It's been a toughie for me as I've been struggling with a chest infection but that hopefully is on its way out now. I've stocked up on vitamins to try and give my immune system a boost and the summer holiday will give me some relatively germ-free weeks to recover properly.

As last week, most of my knitting is secret so I can't share it with you. I did work on my pink and grey stripy socks yesterday evening. I went to a concert at Euston Hall in Suffolk with my friend Snoopydog to listen to Alfie Boe and Michael Ball. It was a lovely evening and I made great progress on those little stripes. I took a quick photo this afternoon for you. Flo was not impressed at being disturbed!

I've been sticking with my #OneHourOutside again so thought you might like to see a snapshot of my week...

June 19th - loving the mixed colours of the flowers on this shrub

June 20th - a dandelion clock ready to spread its seed around the garden

June 21st - summer solstice but the lawn has a distinctly autumnal feel to it

 June 22nd - candles lit and sat in the garden with Flo

June 23rd - I spotted this beautiful clematis flower growing in the garden

June 24th - a meadow at Blickling when I was volunteering at Parkrun

June 25th - looking across the lake towards Blickling Hall 

Florence has had an extremely hectic week as you can see from these photos! I reckon her most taxing decision each day is which comfy spot she's going to pick for a sleep! Oh to be a cat!

You have until Friday to enter my June giveaway - details here. I'll be back next week with news of an exciting knitting festival here in Norfolk. Have a good week. xxx

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Another quilt!

Hello, have you been enjoying the sunshine? It's a bit hot to do much, but quite nice if you're just planning on being lazy! I've been down in Portsmouth this weekend. Apart from catching up with some family, I took another sewing class at the totally fabulous Sew Creative in Petersfield. It was another 'quilt in a day' class, this time making triangles. I'd been chatting with Jo, the owner, over the internet, and told her the kind of colours and style I was looking for and she picked out some stunning prints for me. I have a little bit of quilting still to do, but of course it hasn't stopped Flo from making herself comfortable on it already! 

The shop is amazing; Jo is always thinking of different classes and fun things for her customers. I wish I lived nearer, although my bank balance would not be so healthy! I talked with Sharon, the class tutor, about a project I hope to work on over the summer too. I have kept Mr JK's shirts and want to make a quilt from them. Watch this space! 

My stripy socks have sat untouched almost all week because I have a couple of secret projects underway. That means I can't share with you for now, so sorry about that. But I have to say that I am loving what's currently on my needles - I just hope it ends up as I imagine! 

I've kept up with my #onehouroutside again this week so here are my offerings from the last 7 days...

June 12th - a spot of al fresco sock knitting

June 13th - Flo heading to the bench for some grooming

June 14th - a cat and a cuppa in the garden

June 15th - Mr JK's tree

June 16th - the view from Portsdown Hill, overlooking Portsmouth

June 17th - Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

June 18th - early morning on Southsea seafront

You still have almost two weeks left to enter June's Pay it Forward giveaway to win these great goodies - details of how to enter here. Thanks for dropping in and see you again soon. xxx

Sunday, 11 June 2017

A bit of stripy action

I'm full of cold (again) this weekend, so don't get too close, whatever you do! I barely seem to get over one bug before the next one strikes. But I didn't let it stop me getting out and about yesterday. You might remember that last year Mr JK took part in a couple of Ultra running events. The first was the Norfolk 100k. I have stayed in touch with the organiser and offered to help out at this year's event; So yesterday I set off to Holme-next-the-Sea where I was part of a team at a checkpoint. I had a brilliant day, and ended up going on to the finish after my second checkpoint stint, where we cheered all the runners in and I made them endless cups of tea. It was a really hot day - hot enough just to be sitting, let alone running 100k. It really was a battle of mind over body for some of them, amazing stuff. I felt proud to be a tiny part of it. You can see my view for 5 hours yesterday afternoon on my One Hour Outside photos. Here's this week's offering...

June 5th - enjoying a mug of tea in the garden with Flo before the rain started

June 6th - a hideously wet and windy day in Norfolk, I didn't venture outside unless necessary!

June 7th - surveying the windswept garden after the rain

June 8th - grooming Flo on the garden bench

June 9th - enjoying all the flowers in the garden (and ignoring the weeds!)

June 10th - the marshes at Stiffkey, where I was part of the checkpoint team for the Norfolk 100k race

June 11th - saying hello to Seamus and Declan, the garden gnomes. Mr JK snuck Declan in (he's the one on the right) and it took me a while to spot him. Little did Mr JK know that I'd already bought him Seamus for a silly birthday present. I look at them together and it makes me smile, remembering the laughs we had about them.

I promised to share my efforts at yarn dyeing from last weekend with you. We were able to dye one skein and one sock blank. I decided to hand paint some flashes of colour on; I was aiming for a kind of sunset theme...

I've cast on a pair of socks using this skein and a ball of black Opal sock yarn. The plan is to knit some stripy socks, with the flashes of colour popping up between the black stripes. I haven't got very far with the first sock. I think I should probably have painted on another repeat of the colours on the skein as I'd have preferred the colours to appear a little more evenly around the sock, but I'm just going to stick with it and see how it turns out.

You can see a little of what I'm aiming for from what's I've knit so far. What do you reckon? Will it look ok? The colour flash is gradually moving around the sock, I'd have preferred it a little more random, but since it was my first dyeing effort, I'm happy. Flo was using the yarn cake as a pillow and was not impressed when I disturbed her to take a photo!

For the sock blank, I also handpainted it. I wanted to do a grey/pink colourway. Some people dipped their blank in a dye bath, gradually adding more dye to produce a really smooth gradient. Mine is definitely not smooth and I didn't get the dye right into the knitting. But I quite like the 'chalky' effect of the yarn...

I've split it into two yarn cakes and the plan is to knit another pair of stripy socks, starting with dark grey and dark pink stripes and moving to pale grey and pale pink stripes. I love how the yarn looks in the cakes...

I've only started the ribbing on these, so with luck I will have something to share with you next week. I've not knit with such crinkly yarn before but I'm sure it will be ok.

Before I go, I must just share with you a lovely surprise gift that I received from Sarah over at Fripperies & Bibbelots. She had seen my 'Lovehearts' handspun yarn and was inspired to create some stitch markers. Lucky me! I love Sarah's knitting notions. She's in the process of setting up her own shop away from Etsy so I'll let you know when she has these in stock.

Don't forget that there's still time to enter my June Pay it Forward giveaway here. Have a great week and see you soon. xxx

Sunday, 4 June 2017

One hour outside

I can't believe that half term is almost over. Part of me is secretly a little relieved because it will be good to get back into my 'normal' routine. But part of me resents the fact that school holidays don't bring me the same enjoyment that they used to. I have tried to keep myself occupied, but was let down a couple of times; in the past I would have taken in my stride and possibly even relished the chance of an extra hour or two on my own for a bit of sewing or knitting, but instead it sent me into a slump which I found hard to dig myself out of at times. In an effort to make myself go out and get some fresh air and exercise every day, I've decided to take part in #onehouroutside. It was something I spotted on Twitter and all you have to do is post a photo of part of your hour outside. Here are my first 4 days of June...

June 1st - foxgloves in the woods at Blickling Hall

June 2nd - tree ferns in the gardens of East Ruston Old Vicarage

June 3rd - Bath Abbey

June 4th - a path on the Blickling estate

I expect that my photos will be a bit 'same-y' but I will continue to share them with you each week as it will make me go out and about.

I had a lovely day on Wednesday when I met up with my friend Juliet in London. We went to the Balenciaga exhibition at the V&A, and I can thoroughly recommend going if you get the chance. Some incredible 'engineered' clothes, and so interesting to see how his style has inspired so many other fashion designers.

You might have spotted in the photos above that one of them definitely wasn't in Norfolk! Yesterday I got up incredibly early to catch the 5am train to Bath to take part in a yarn dyeing workshop at A Yarn Story with Daisy from Devon Sun Yarns. It was a brilliant day and I'll share the yarns that I dyed with you another time as they're still drying. But here's a little taster of things to come ...

I had lots of knitting and crochet time on the train; I played yarn chicken and won with a secret crochet project...

and cast on the second of my Lovehearts handspun socks...

While I was at A Yarn Story (a fabulous shop, go take a look) I gathered a couple of goodies for June's Pay it Forward giveaway - a Yarn Story bag, a fun pencil which says 'yarn makes me happy' on it (a treat in my gift bag from the yarn dyeing day) and a pot of coloured stitch markers which will fit needles up to 4.5mm, so perfect for lace or sock knitting. To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is to leave me a comment recommending a blog that you enjoy reading - it doesn't need to be a knitting one. The giveaway will be open until midnight on June 30th and I'll use a random number generator to pick the winner after that date. Please make sure it's easy for me to contact you by leaving your Ravelry or Instagram name, or leave some other way for me to get in touch. If I haven't heard from the winner within a week, I'll pick another name. I'm happy to post world-wide, so please enter. And may the random number generator be with you! xxx

ETA A huge thank you to Carmen at A Yarn Story for very generously donating the stitch markers.