Sunday, 28 July 2019

Stylecraft Blogstars meetup and party time!

This time last week I was on a train travelling back home from the summer Stylecraft Yarns Blogstars meeting. I went by train as driving any distance is a bit of a no-go at the moment, but that was great because it meant I could knit on my journey! In fact, I am extremely happy with what came off my needles and I am sure that you will be seeing more of it in due course! (Sorry, I can't even share a sneaky peek!)

Our Blogstar meeting coincided with Stylecraft's 30th 'Purl Anniversary' party. Competitions were held earlier in the year which resulted in 30 members of the public and 30 yarn shop owners being invited to the Stylecraft mill for a day packed with party games, workshops and celebrations. Initially when the party was first planned, I was going to be teaching a knitting workshop, but most annoyingly, my health made it clear that this was going to be impossible. Even so, it was wonderful to be able to see the party preparations and see what delights were in store for the lucky, lucky attendees. One of the rooms in the mill had been partially cleared to make space, with boxes upon boxes of yarns in the background. Think of it as a bit of a Stylecraft Pick and Mix experience! Annabelle and Juliet and some of the other Stylecraft team worked tirelessly on Friday to create a wonderful woolly welcome for the guests. Here are a few photos to give you an idea. My fellow Blogstar Phil was at the Purl Party and you can read more about it here

Just follow the yarn fumes!
Pompom bunting everywhere!
Tables set out for the games and workshops

Annabelle and Juliet had come up with some super-fun party games including Special DK bingo. A mahoosive box containing one each of all the colours in the Special DK range was ready to have balls picked at random to match with the specially made bingo cards. Winners would be presented with gorgeous yarny bouquets.

One of the prizes in the Special DK bingo. House!

There was also a game of 'Guess which colours of Special DK are missing'. Fourteen or fifteen little knitted jumpers have been left out of the display. The Blogstars spent some time trying to work it out. Lucy from Attic24 and Helen from Crystals and Crochet certainly know their colours!

Helen and Lucy working out which colours were missing.

Each of the Blogstars who was running a workshop had a space to display some of their work. It was so inspiring to see such creativity all in one place and I have to pinch myself sometimes that I'm part of this group. I'm so lucky.

Emma Varnam was teaching her group to make crocheted cacti.

Jane Crowfoot's group were learning how to add beads to crochet.

Phil's group were learning about simple motif design and stranded knitting.

Helen Shrimpton's group were learning about different kinds of crochet stitches.

Lucy's group were crocheting cotton mandalas.

In our Blogstars meeting, we were given a sneak preview of the new yarns and colours for this autumn and winter, as well as a peep at some possible yarns for next spring and summer which had us squealing with excitement!!! Several of the coming season's yarns have already been released so I can share those with you.

Starlight is a new aran weight yarn, 60% cotton, 39% premium acrylic and 1% polyester, giving it that lovely sparkle. I can see a gorgeous lacy wrap knitted in this - perfect for when it gets a little cooler in the evenings. 

There are three new colours in the Life DK range. I am rather a fan of those shades with the nepps in them. Life is 25% wool and 75% acrylic and comes in a good range of colours.

There are also three new shades in the Special Aran range in the big 400g balls. Finally a ball that Flo can't steal, although I would quite like to see her try!

Three new colourways have been introduced into the Batik Swirl yarn cakes. I really like these as they are perfect for knitting or crocheting items where you want some variety of colour but don't really want to have to deal with lots of ends to weave in. Batik is really nice to work with, and is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. It has a dappled effect which is rather attractive and it's lovely and soft too.

Meet Bruno and Jessie! These cute characters have both knitted and crocheted options and are sure to become favourites with little ones. 

I was lucky enough to see the latest blanket design by Helen Boreham at the mill last weekend. It's crocheted in Special DK and is called the Tessellation blanket. There are two colour options as well as a DIY colour plan if you fancy designing your own colourway.

In the afternoon we had an excellent photography workshop where we learnt how to take flat lay photos. I will be sharing my photo with you soon as it's all to do with Granny Square Day which is coming up very soon.

Congratulations to Stylecraft on 30 years of bringing knitters and crocheters around the world some of the most beautiful, colourful and affordable yarns. Here's to the next ten years! xxx

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Meet the original josiekitten

Let me introduce you to the original josiekitten! (Doesn't she bear an uncanny likeness to Flo?) Josie was my first cat, given to me by a friend as a house warming present when I bought my first house! I can still remember the day that we went to the cat sanctuary to choose a cat. My friend wanted to get me a fluffy tabby cat with a funny meow but as I walked past the cage where Josie was, she pushed both her front legs as far through as she could and grabbed hold of me! So she chose me really and there wasn't any more to be said! Josie was definitely a 'one-person' kind of cat. She loved me but could be a tad grumpy with others. But she was a gorgeous girl and we had many happy years together. Her fur was the softest, silkiest fur I have ever stroked (but don't tell Flo that!) When I was looking for a name for my blog, josiekitten felt right. How did you choose your blog name? xxx