Sunday, 4 December 2016

Getting my daily dose of fibre


I can remember last year feeling very left out when I spotted all the excitement around the Opal Advent calendar. What could be better than opening a door each day to discover a mini-ball of Opal sock yarn?! Snoopydog was equally as miffed as me that we were both missing out on this yarny fun, so when it came to sorting out birthday gifts back in the summer, I  pounced upon the idea of giving Snoops one. And of course, the saying is 'one for Snoops and one for me'! So I had to get one too. Mr JK was a little bemused by the whole thing, but I told him that if there was an Advent calendar for runners, then he'd have bought one (although it wouldn't be anywhere near so exciting in my view!)

It's a bit of a monster! It's currently sat on the worktop in the kitchen so I can open it up each morning. If you follow me on Instagram, I'm posting a daily photo or two to show each ball. I've decided to knit some 'sort of matching' socks, so knit the first ball from both ends. I did get in a bit of a tangle, but now I know roughly how many rounds I can get out of half a ball, that shouldn't be an issue again. I've also crocheted two 5 round granny squares from the ball (15g goes a long way!) with the aim of putting them together to make a cushion (unless Flo claims it as her blankie, which is quite likely!) 




It would appear from all the photos on Instagram that the calendars are filled randomly, because people all seem to have different colourways. It'll probably end up that we've all got the same ones, but not in the same order! Here are mine so far...







Flo monitored progress on the first ball (rainbow stripes) when I was knitting in bed early one morning. 




I'm not sure that I'll be able to keep up with knitting a ball a day - in fact I know I won't as I'm already three balls behind! But they will keep until the school holidays begin in less than two weeks. 

Check in again on December 8th when I'll be sharing with you my contribution to Stylecraft's Advent giveaway. xxx

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Advent


Mr JK was a huge fan of Christmas, as am I, although I'm not feeling very enthusiastic about it this year. We always decorated the house on Advent Sunday and loved opening each box of decorations, collected over many years, greeting all the trinkets like old friends and remembering where we'd bought them from. This year, those boxes are staying up in the loft, and my token gesture towards Christmas, apart from the glass angel I showed you last week, is a rather rustic string of bunting I made at The Makeplace in Norwich. It was a lovely way to spend a morning and I am pleased with the result. I hung it up around the mantelpiece and it brings a touch of the festive spirit into the house. 




My sock mojo has returned and I have managed to finish a pair of DK socks - I love the fact that they knit up so quickly and will definitely knit more. Perfect for slouching around in at home or wearing inside my wellies at Parkrun. The yarn is from Opal, in their Wintermond range and this colourway is 'Sleigh Ride'. I bought my yarn here and had excellent service from Julie. I've also made progress on my giant granny squares blanket, which tells you something about my sleep (or lack of it), as it sits by my bedside!




Talking of Parkruns, I was volunteering again yesterday and it was another beautiful morning. The mist was just clearing and the sun came out. Still cold, but I don't mind that when it's dry and sunny. Give me that any day over a grey, damp day.




Flo continues to be a great comfort to me, coming for snuggles as regular as clockwork each evening as well as being my night-time companion. She seems to sense when a little nudge or cheek rub is needed. It's so nice driving home and seeing her on the window sill looking out and waiting for me.






I had a lovely surprise in the post this week - I discovered that I'd won a kit from Loop in London. The kit is just gorgeous, 21 mini skeins to knit a stripy slouchy hat. Beautiful happy colours which lifted my spirits when I opened the parcel. I've also received gifts from friends in the USA and Canada this week and yet again have been touched by how kind and thoughtful the knitting community has been. Both my friends on Ravelry and Instagram and Mr JK's running friends on Twitter continue to be so supportive.





Before I go, I must just share with you two giveaways that are running, or soon will be. The Stylecraft Advent Giveaway begins today, over on their Facebook page and Instagram. Running from today until December 20th, they'll be giving away prizes each day. The Blogstars have also given some prizes - I think my day is December 8th, but I'm not going to tell you what I've my prize is! You'll have to keep an eye on Stylecraft! 




The second giveaway is from KnitPro and starts on December 5th. The KnitPro Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway will be giving away more than 70 prizes. You can sing away to the Twelve Days of Christmas as you read your way through this list of treats:

12 Clickies clicking 
11 Yarn Cutters cutting 
10 Packs of stitch markers marking 
9 Colour Cables 
8 Repair Hooks mending 
7 Needle Sizers 
6 Wave crochet hooks 
5 sets of DPNs 
4 Jumbo Birch crochet hooks 
3 Royale Midi sets 
2 Wave Crochet sets
and 1 gorgeous Melodie gift set.

Wow! That's a LOT of prizes, definitely worth entering.  Check in on the KnitPro Facebook page for more details when they are announced.

I'll be popping back on December 1st when I have a rather special Advent calendar to share with you. xxx

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Keeping things 'normal'


Not much knitting this week, I've been in a bit of a craft slump again I'm afraid. Flo keeps looking pointedly at the wrappy poncho that I've started. I think if it stays in the knitting bag on the sofa much longer, I'll find her curled up on top of it, claiming squatter's rights. 

It was freezing cold here yesterday morning. I was volunteering at our local parkrun. I really like doing it, and find it comforting to be involved in something that Mr JK was so passionate about. It makes me feel closer to him in a funny sort of way. He really hoped that one day I'd actually run in one rather than volunteer. Who knows?! Never say never! Although it was cold, it was a beautiful morning to be out and about. 









Afterwards I went into Norwich to meet a friend for lunch. There was a Scandinavian market outside the Forum and I bought a beautiful glass angel tealight holder. It's meant to be a Christmas decoration but I think she looks very much at home on the mantelpiece and wants to live there all year round.




This weekend was 'Stir up Sunday', when Christmas puddings and cakes were traditionally made. Mr JK was a huge fan of Christmas and we always made our own puddings, so I decided to keep that tradition going. On went the Christmas music and I followed Delia's recipe. There were tears when it came to the stirring - we always held the spoon together and stirred and made a wish - but I did it and now I have eight delicious puddings to share with friends and eat over the festive season and beyond. 




Flo wanted to keep up with the action when it came to getting them ready for steaming this morning!




And it was with some sadness that I ate the final pudding that Mr JK and I made together last year. It did taste good but ...




I shall say goodnight to you now - Flo is craving a bit of lap time before bed. I'll dig out my sock to knit on too and see if I can finish it off to show you next week. xxx

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Tiny steps


I started back at school this week, but only working mornings while I try to get my sleep (or lack of it) sorted out. It's been good to do something 'normal'. My creative mojo has been pretty low for the past month and I haven't been able to settle to much. My night-time companion has been a Granny Square blanket using a variety of colours of Stylecraft Special DK that I bought a year ago with a knitted blanket in mind. However, I found myself wanting something mindless and soothing to work on and the repetitiveness of the crochet fitted the bill. There's no special plan, just picking the colours fairly randomly and working each round. I plan to use the Parchment shade to work a final round on each square and join them as I go.




I have also started a poncho/wrap using a pattern from the most recent Rowan book. I'm using yarn that Mr JK picked out for a sweater for himself. I had started knitting it but had decided that the yarn wasn't right for the pattern so it had been frogged. The poncho uses the very same yarn - Rowan Brushed Fleece. Perfect! So it will be like having a hug from Mr JK when I wear it. Of course, Flo is rather smitten with it too, but I think I can allow her a share in in the hugs too.




I haven't done any sock knitting for ages and decided to try some DK socks for a change. I ordered yarn from Suffolk Socks and had brilliant service. Julie was really sweet and added a few extras in my parcel in the hope of kick starting my sock knitting. And do you know, I think it's worked. I started these yesterday evening when I was with my pal Snoopydog and look how much they've grown already!  The yarn is an Opal one, so I know it will wash and wear very well. You never know, I might have a finished pair by next weekend. xxx






Sunday, 6 November 2016

Thank you




Thank you so much to each and every one of your for your kind messages and support. It's been a very sad time here, but I have been so comforted by all the good wishes and love that has been coming my way. Cards, emails, gifts, messages and even meeting up with bloggy friends. The knitting community and the running community have been incredible and I cannot thank people enough. I'm going to start taking baby steps back into Blogland over the coming weeks. xxx

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Incomprehensible




My darling Mr JK died suddenly in the early hours of Tuesday morning. I'm going to take a break from blogging for a while as I grieve for my true love and best friend. xxx

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Ally Pally and beyond


I've been looking forward to this weekend for a while now as the Knitting and Stitching Show (possibly better known as Ally Pally) has been in my diary for some months. I set off early yesterday to go on an organised bus trip. I like it because it's pretty much door to door service. I can knit on the bus and not worry about either driving into London or getting across London on the trains. Perfect! 

Although busy, I have seen it much crazier than yesterday. Perhaps now that the show is on for 5 days, the footfall is more spread out. I dropped off a load of yarn to the UK Hand Knitting Association who were collecting it for the charity Knit for Peace and had a chat with Juliet Bernard who was sporting a white coat and 'Yarn Doctor' name badge! Juliet co-ordinates all the Stylecraft Blogstars activities. I then did my usual 'up and down' the aisles, looking for anything of interest. I didn't go with a specific shopping list, but still came home with some rather nice treats. Three books - the latest Rowan book, a delightful Fair isle book (the 'easy' in the title sold it to me, as well as admiring all the samples there!) and a book of sock patterns which I had admired at Fibre-East back in the summer. Martin Storey was on the Rowan stand and very kindly signed my book for me. I felt a little bad interrupting his lunch but he didn't seem to mind! Three fat quarters of fabric called out to me - two kitty ones and one Christmas one. I also bought some sock yarn - 2 skeins of Socks Yeah! from Rachel Coopey. She has just brought out some new colours in the range and I loved the green. Debonnaire Yarns is another favourite and I couldn't resist a skein of sparkly speckled yarn. Finally a skein of sock yarn from Truly Hooked. The yarn is dyed by the same person who wrote the Sock Drawer book and she had a special deal on! I'm not one to miss out on a bargain!! When I'd finished my shopping and browsing, I went onto the Stylecraft stand to lend a hand there for an hour. It was so busy, I spent most of my time restocking the little cubbies with yarn. I also chatted with people about the new sock yarn, Head over Heels. It was fun to be a part of, but I don't know how they manage to do it for 5 solid days! Exhausting!












It's been a Happy Mail week here too. After dithering for a few weeks, I decided to order a book of mini patchwork projects from Love from Beth. I first came across Beth's designs at the Festival of Quilts the summer before last and I loved her style. In a recent blog post, she mentioned that people ordering her book would receive a pack of fabric to make one of the projects in the book until she ran out of packs. I was one of the lucky ones and have some rather lovely fabric (also designed by Beth) to sew a fabric dish. 




I  also received a skein of yarn from Laughing Hens - they got in touch with me recently and asked if I would like to do occasional reviews for them. Of course I said yes!! I knit some of the yarn on the trip to London yesterday and will report back later on it. But I will just say it's rather yummy!




Flo has been rather clingy today. Mr JK is away for the weekend running the Yorkshire marathon, and she is a daddy's girl! I was finishing off a project for the Stylecraft Blogtour coming later this month and she pounced on a skein. There's a video of her on Instagram if you want to take a look. Every ball and skein of yarn has to pass the 'Flo Squishability' test! 




I have lots of pattern writing to do over the coming couple of weeks, and with luck there will be a new sock pattern and perhaps more in a day or two. Pop back to see. xxx