Sunday, 22 April 2018

News of a sockish nature

Good evening, how lovely of you to stop by! You may remember a few weeks ago that I blogged about a competition that Stylecraft were running to pick some new colours in their Head over Heels sock yarn range. Each of the Stylecraft Blogstars created a colourway for a new yarn inspired by the art of David Hockney. We had the entire range of Special DK colours at our disposal. 

Our yarn selections were then, by the wonders of technology, turned into printed samples to give an idea of how they would look knitted up. There were eight stripy colourways and eight more gradual melange effect colourways. Then these were put to the public vote but it was all done anonymously so that no one knew which Blogstar had created each yarn. 

Knitters voted in their thousands to pick their favourite yarns and I am so excited to be able to tell you that my yarn was one of the winners! I've known for a little while now but have had to keep it quiet until it was announced by Stylecraft. I wonder if you were able to pick out mine?

My colour choices were made from a postcard of a David Hockney print - The Coming of Spring. I loved the soft colours with the purple and cannot wait to see it as an actual ball of yarn! I think the yarn will be available in the autumn. You can be sure that I'll let you know!

I've already started a new sock design to show off the colours. The sample is being knit with another colourway in the Head over Heels range, Sugar Loaf. Sorry but I simply cannot let you see any more than this or else I might have to kill you!!!!! Thank you so, so much if you voted for my colourway. I cannot wait to see all of the new yarns for real. There could be some serious sock pattern designing underway. xxx

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Great Yarn Giveaway update 5

There's only a few days left now until donations close on my JustGiving page. If you're a regular visitor to my blog, then you'll know that I've been raising money for the British Heart Foundation in memory of Mr JK who suffered a fatal heart attack back in October 2016. I had a crazy idea earlier in the year of asking my favourite yarny folk if they might donate something lovely that I could then give away at random to people who had made a donation. Well it kind of snowballed and now there are 137 treats to be handed out once donations close at the end of April. When I started out, I hesitantly wondered if £1000 was being a bit optimistic as a target. But time and again, the target got smashed and look at where we are now!

I can't quite believe just how much money has been raised so far, I wonder how much higher it can go before it closes? It's pretty overwhelming to know that so many people are supporting me in my fight against heart disease. Obviously I wish that I wasn't in the position of having to do it and that Mr JK was here right now, pottering in the garden, getting lunch ready or playing his guitar. But it does bring some comfort to know that something good is happening out of something so sad. Thank you so much if you've donated.

I have a few more prizes to share with you too! I think that these will be the last unless I get contacted by anyone between now and the end of April. There are 137 lovely things to give away to people now, the woolly world has been so generous. I ordered packaging bags this morning but am trying not to think about how long it's going to take to pack up and post everything!

Tracey Todhunter got in touch with me on Instagram to offer a signed copy of her latest crochet book. The winner can choose either UK or US terminology too. It looks like a fabulous book for crochet newbies.

Sam from Windy Hill Woodwork also contacted me via Instagram and is generously donating a pair of sock blockers (size to be chosen by the winner) - I love my sock blockers and these wooden ones look really gorgeous! 

I always have a chat with Tanja from The Knitting Swede when we meet at yarn shows and she has kindly donated two very squishy skeins of DK yarn which go together perfectly. I wish they could come and live in my stash!!

I was delighted when Susan Crawford offered to donate something - and yesterday it was a happy post day when I  opened a parcel to find two copies of her book 'Coronation Knits' and three skeins of yarn. The colours are just beautiful. 

The idea for the fundraising came about when two friends got charity places for the Brighton marathon. They had to raise a certain amount each and I wanted to help them out. When you run races regularly for charity, it's really hard to keep asking the same people for money! They start crossing the road to avoid you! Last weekend was marathon weekend and we had a couple of days at the seaside. I was meant to be running the 10k race but I've really been struggling with knee problems since York last year. My running days may have peaked! So I was part of the support team. Both Jules and Charlie went into the race carrying injuries and it was a struggle. But knowing how much support you've given them really spurred them on and they both finished in under 4 and a half hours. I'm so proud of them for running in Mr JK's memory. There's still time to add to the total raised and give yourself a chance of winning something lovely. All you need to know is right here. Thank you xxx

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Happy Easter moments

I spent the Easter weekend down in Devon with an old friend from Uni. I've blogged about my visits there in the past here, here and here. The weather was pretty awful but it meant that we felt perfectly justified in staying indoors, drinking endless mugs of tea and spending rather a lot of time knitting and crocheting. In fact, I might even go as far as to say that I think I have rediscovered a little bit of my woolly mojo. I took my Opal Advent calendar mini balls with me to work on socks and the Granny square cushion cover...

As you can see, I finished my first pair of socks and have made a start on the second. I tried to make the first pair semi-matching ones by knitting from each end of the ball and working on both socks at the same time. The second pair I am going to be nowhere near as fussy and these will be completely mismatched! I also finished joining all the squares together for my cushion. Just the pesky ends to deal with now - all 200 of them! 

We had fun at a basket making workshop over the Easter weekend - and my basket was put to good use with all the chocolate eggs that were going to be hidden for the Easter Egg hunt!

 Of course we had time for a cream tea - mmmmmm, clotted cream is yummy! We both love the blackcurrant curd that you can buy from National Trust shops. We managed to fit in a quick visit to Knightshayes between the rain showers. 

I brought back the pottery herb labels I'd made during my last visit too - they've been fired and glazed and I rather like them!

Since returning home, I've made my friend Jules some wrist warmers for her birthday and received a rather interesting parcel in the post. (More of this at a later date.)

The best part of being home is having lots of cuddles and lap time with Flo. She's very happy I'm back. Hope you've had a few happy Easter moments too. xxx

Friday, 6 April 2018

Great Yarn Giveaway update 5

Today I'm going to share with you the last few prizes that you could win if you enter my Great Yarn Giveaway. It has been truly overwhelming to be on the receiving end of so much kindness and generosity from the woolly community. There's less than a month to go now before it closes on April 30th and I'm really hoping that the total might reach £6000 - at the moment it's just a few pounds short of £5,500, which makes me incredibly happy and proud.

First I have a completely bonkers but very addictive crochet book for you! Sharon (aka The Wooly Flamingo on Instagram) got in touch with me as she'd received two copies of the book 'Crochet Animal Heads' by Vanessa Mooncie as presents. The book is full of the most amazing designs and I am secretly hankering after a zebra head for my wall. I just wish I was a better crocheter and had moved beyond the basic granny squares!

For those of you who love playing around with colour and planning your crochet and knitting projects, how about a set of yarn pegs? The Polkadot Giraffe has donated a set of yarn pegs with all 88 colours in the Stylecraft Special DK range. Just fabulous and perfect for your next blanket! Looking at them all lined up there just makes me smile!

Ann from Busy Pottering has already been a very generous supporter of my giveaway, and she has sent me a very special Goosey Gander project bag, made with some vintage Laura Ashley fabric. It comes with some special additions - a skein of naturally dyed yarn from Scruffydog Yarns, a bee pin, stitch markers and teabags. It's going to give someone's projects a wonderful new home!

I was contacted by Sunny Rush over on Instagram - she wanted to donate two crochet hooks. There are two Furls Odyssey hooks and they look like they are the Rolls Royce of the crochet hook world! There's a size 4.00mm and a 5.00mm which will be going to two separate winners. 

Rachael from Cat and Sparrow also got in touch with me via Instagram. I first came across Rachael's gorgeous fibre when she had a stand at Fibre-East. She also dyes yarn and has donated the most gorgeous skein of aran weight yarn in a luscious blend of merino and silk. It's going to make something very cosy. 

Rachel at EllieBeth Designs makes the cutest stickers to help you organise your life! She's worked with Lucy at Attic24 to create some fabulous crochet-themed stickers and has donated a set as a prize. They are really lovely and I am contemplating getting myself a planner to try and organise my life a bit better, so that I can treat myself to a few of these stickers.

Kate (Knitchimp on Ravelry) has donated the most beautiful skein of handspun yarn as a prize. It's a blend of merino and silk and has been spun with lots of love for her Dad. It will make someone some rather special wrist warmers.

If you've ever been to a yarn show in the UK, the chances are that you've seen Louise from Spin City sharing her love of spinning with visitors. She has donated a Learn to Spin kit, which includes a drop spindle, lots of fibre, a bag and instructions on how to get started on spinning your own yarn. Be warned, it's very addictive!

Lastly for today, Sal from The Willows Design got in touch with me on Instagram offering a knitting needle gauge and some stitch markers. Making knitting accessories is a new venture and I think they will be a hit if these are anything to go by. I love the little stitch markers with the paws on!

If you haven't yet made a donation to my Great Yarn Giveaway, please do consider doing so. You can enter on my JustGiving page here. All the money donated will be going to the British Heart Foundation to help fight heart disease. I'm trying to raise as much money as possible in memory of my lovely Mr JK. The giveaway is open until the end of April and it's worldwide. Please blog about it, share the link with your woolly friends so that they can all take part too. Let's make this little seed into a mighty oak! Thank you so much. xxx