Wednesday, 27 September 2017

In print

I received some very exciting post this week. As part of my role with the Stylecraft Blogstars, I was given the opportunity to design something for Crochet Now magazine and write a little bit about myself. I was a tad nervous as I am primarily a knitter, but decided to give it a go and used one of the newer Stylecraft yarns - Candy Swirl - to hook a cosy scarf. I did give a few sneaky peaks on Instagram, but nothing that gave the game away!

Anyway, I am thrilled to see the photos of my Cosy Cluster scarf design appearing on the back page. I don't often buy crochet magazines, but there are some really lovely patterns in this one (issue 20) if you're interested in hooky things.

I snapped a quick photo before I sent the scarves off to the magazine, and had to keep Flo well out of the way, knowing her penchant for all things yarny!

To celebrate the publication of my first ever pattern in a magazine, I'm having a little giveaway. I have one yarn cake of Stylecraft Candy Swirl yarn in the purple Sugar Plum colourway as seen above. You can make the smaller size scarf with it. If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning, leave me a comment on my blog and tell me what your favourite thing is to crochet. I'm going to be running this competition on Instagram and also on my Josiekitten page on Facebook, so you have three chances to enter. (You can enter in all three places if you like.) The giveaway will stay open until midnight on Sunday 15th October and then I'll pick a winner. Please make sure that it's easy for me to get in touch with you. I'm happy to post overseas, so anyone can enter! Good luck and may the crochet goddess smile on you! xxx

Edited to add - I am leaving this giveaway open until the end of October and there are two chances to win a yarn cake. Details on this blog post here

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Time to talk about yarn again

The past couple of weeks I have been totally preoccupied with my running and also going back to school, and yarn-related blog posts have slipped a little bit. I'm so sorry. I also realised that I didn't pick a winner for the August giveaway either. Bad josiekitten! You may remember that the lovely Kathryn from CrafternoonTreats very generously donated a kit to crochet a yarn basket. 

The random number generator picked out comment 13, butterflybobbins. Congratulations to you, I'll be getting in touch with you on Instagram in the next day or so.

I've got another lovely giveaway for you this month too. When I was at Old Maiden Aunt's studio with Lucia last month, I picked out a skein of yarn to use as a prize. It's a really beautiful mix of colours and I bought three! One for me, one for Snoopydog and one for you! It's 100% superwash merino 4ply weight and the colourway is called 'Like a Hummingbird'. Take a look for yourself, it's gorgeous!

If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning this beauty, all you need to do is leave me a comment and tell me what yarn supplies you'd take to a desert island with you! The giveaway will stay open until midnight on September 30th so there's still plenty of time to enter. Please make sure that it's easy for me to contact you by leaving your Ravelry or Instagram name or leave some other way to get in touch. If I haven't heard from the winner in a week, I'll use the random number generator to pick another name. I'm happy to post worldwide so please do enter. You never know, you might soon be the lucky owner of this skein of squishiness. Good luck one and all!

I dodged the showers yesterday morning and went to my local Parkrun to marshall. Luckily I was stationed in the woods and was protected by all the trees as it rained several times on and off. When the sun was shining, it looked beautiful. There is something about Nation Trust parkland...


I wasn't so lucky later in the day when Snoopydog and I took Oscar out - we both looked like drowned rats by the end of the walk, although Oscar wasn't remotely bothered! I needed a complete change of clothes when I got home! 

I took my medal to Mr JK's tree yesterday so I could tell him all about the events of last weekend, although I'm pretty sure that he already knew all about it. 

Today I am having a very lazy day. My knee is still sore from the run, so it's feet up on the sofa for me - and yes, it seems that sock season has begun already! These were a favourite pair knit in some Opal yarn last year.

I am playing around with ideas using some of the lovely colours in the Stylecraft Batik yarn range and it's all a lot of fun! Plenty of tea and munchies within reach to keep me going all day. I'm not planning on moving far! xxx

Saturday, 16 September 2017

A picture speaks a thousand words

I got my race photos from the Great North Run and I just love these two - they were taken as I crossed the finish line. It was such a mix of emotions - elation at having finished, pride in what I'd achieved and sadness that Mr JK wasn't there to share it with me. An amazing day that I will remember for the rest of my life. xxx

Monday, 11 September 2017

I did it!

I am now a half marathon runner! Words that I never ever thought I'd say! I had an absolutely amazing weekend in Newcastle with the girls from the gym. Race day was incredible - an electric atmosphere and so many runners! It took me 45 minutes after the race started to actually cross the start line! The support from the locals along the route was great, and I spotted Denise Lewis doing an interview and Dame Tanni Grey Thompson on a water station as I was passing. I finished in a time of 3:12:20 and I don't think I will ever forget that feeling as I crossed the finish line. I managed to hold myself together but when the medal was put round my neck, I cried! All the emotion of the weekend finally got to me. I think that Mr JK would be so proud of me. Thank you for all your support - your comments and donations have meant the world to me and when the going got tough yesterday, your support kept me going. I don't have any official race photos yet but here are a couple from the weekend. My Just Giving page will stay active for a while longer, so if you'd like to donate, you can find the link at the top of the sidebar on my blog. Thank you again for all your kindness and generosity. Now please excuse me while I go and rest my legs and put an ice pack on my knee! xxx

Checking out the start the day before with Jules, Charlie and Beckie.

Start line selfie!

I felt like a proper athlete with my foil blanket! I'd just finished the race.

Chilling out in the pub afterwards!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Well that went fast!

I can't believe that the holidays are almost over. Tomorrow sees the start of the new school year and I don't feel ready to go back! Considering that I wasn't looking forward to the summer break that much, having found previous holidays quite challenging emotionally, I had a pretty good holiday. I tried to keep myself as busy as I could, visiting friends, learning new things, days out here and there. Yes, there were a few tough days when I felt sad and restless and found it hard to focus on anything at all, but thankfully these days were few and far between. 

I've been busy over the last few days too. I went up to Glasgow to stay with one of my fellow Blogstars Lucia. I was made to feel so welcome by Lucia and her whole family and we had a lovely time. The day I arrived we went for a stroll around the centre of Glasgow before enjoying a delicious pizza in town. Then it was home for an evening of crochet and chat. I took my Opal Advent calendar yarn with me with the aim of finishing off all the little granny squares to make my cushion, as well as the crazy socks. Sitting in Lucia's fabulous yarn room, it was hard not to get distracted!


Lucia's gorgeous Maine Coon cat Thorin was a huge snuggly boy who made himself at home wherever we were sat - usually on the sofa! It's funny how cats just love to be where the yarny action is.

The following day, we went to West Kilbride, Scotland's first accredited Craft Town, as we wanted to visit the dyeing studio of Lilith from Old Maiden Aunt. Lilith was busy dyeing, but was very happy to let us browse and made us tea while we pondered over our yarn choices. I was also on a yarn-buying mission for my pal Snoopydog - it's always fun buying a little extra! Lilith's dyeing is absolutely beautiful - she has an amazing sense of colour. So hard to pick just a couple of yarny souvenirs! Take a look at all the temptation that lay before us...

We were able to take a look at where Lilith does her dyeing too - there were lots of skeins headed for Loop in London (I think!) drying on the racks as well as lots of skeins in the dye pots.

Of course you'd like to see what I bought wouldn't you? As well as a copy of Lilith's book, I settled on three skeins for myself. I don't have them with me at the moment as my suitcase went awol on the flight home (really, really hoping it shows up on tonight's flight!) so you'll have to make do with a quick picture I took at Lucia's.

After inhaling all those yarn fumes, we popped into a couple more of the studios before heading up the coast to the seaside town of Largs. Lilith suggested we visit Nardini's for an ice cream. It's in a fabulous art deco building and you can imagine just how grand it must have been back in the 1930's when it first opened. It was very hard to choose what to have, but eventually I plumped for a toffee fudge sundae. Mmmmm, it was lovely!

We attempted to walk off our ice creams along the seafront at Largs, but the weather wasn't playing ball and the heavens opened not long after we started. Of course we didn't have coats with us and joked that we needed those plastic rainhoods that you sometimes see old ladies wearing - ours would be accessorised with crochet flowers of course! These photos were taken about 5 minutes apart! 

So back to Glasgow we went for another evening of crochet and conversation. I was really pleased that I managed to finish making all my granny squares for the cushion so I really hope that my missing bag turns up! I have everything crossed!

On Friday we drove to Loch Lomond. The weather gods were really on our side as we had blue skies and sunshine all day long. The whole area is stunning with the hills/mountains/munros making the perfect backdrop to the clear water of the loch.

Just breathtaking views, although I can imagine that on a dreich day, it's nowhere near so picturesque. Lucia already has things planned for my next visit, so I'm sure I'll be heading north of the border again, despite the luggage trauma! 

Since getting home, I've had Flo virtually glued to me. She was so happy to see me on Friday evening and had a mad half hour chasing about the house like a cat possessed! 

And before I go, I have to say a huge thank you to those of you who have donated to my Just Giving page after my previous post. I have been completely overwhelmed by the generosity of people I've never even 'met' before, but who have come to know me through my blog and online presence. This time next week, the race will be over and I hope that I will be a half-marathoner! I promise to tell you all about it. If you'd like to make a donation to help support the work of the British Heart Foundation, then there's a link to my fundraising page at the top of the blog. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I did a 5.5 mile run through the woods today and it's a little bit scary to think that the next time I lace up my running shoes, it'll be the day of the Great North Run. With your support and encouraging words, I know I can do it! xxx