Back in the swing of things

Small daughter broke up for her school half term holiday on Friday and boy, am I glad!  I am sooo ready for a week of not having to get up and face the school run, cram everything that I need to do into the few hours that she’s at school and generally run about like something daft until I fall into bed at night.

It’s always busy in our house, but it’s been even more so just recently as we’ve just completed the sale of my Dad’s house – in the end, more complicated and more emotional than I expected – and it’s surprising what an amount of time it can take up even when you’re not actually moving house yourself.  It’s done now, though, and that chapter is closed, and now it’s time to get back into the swing of things.  Time off the usual routine is just what I need!  I thought I’d start with a catch-up of what I have managed to do that wasn’t anything remotely to do with house sales – it’s nice to think about something different!

Something different was just what we did on Friday night – my husband and I were invited to a masked charity ball.  I’ve never been to a masked ball before, and it was quite strange to talk to people without being able to see their faces.  It was fascinating to see what a range of masks people had chosen as well; from sequinned face transfers to masks like ours below to full-face Chewbacca masks.  We also spotted Batman and Robin, presumably having a night off from fighting crime. I’m not entirely sure that Chewbacca, Batman or Robin would be seen at a ball, even if it was a charity one to support cancer research, but it made us smile.

This afternoon, I pulled out my knitting bag and sat down to see where I was up with my projects. Some days recently, I’ve found it quite hard to fit knitting time in along with everything else, but I have realised that I am a nicer, calmer person if I can do even just a few rounds so it’s been important to try to do that – for my family’s sake as well as my own!

I finished off my husband’s DK socks.  I was really pleased that he chose this West Yorkshire Spinners Blue Lagoon yarn as up until now, his yarn of choice has been black with leftover colours for the heels and toes.  It’s been much nicer to knit with stripes of blue!  He was having a hygge moment in front of the fire with his book.  You may have heard the word “hygge” (pronounced “hoo-ga”) around quite a lot at the moment; it loosely translates from the original Danish as “cosy” but it’s more about a feeling than anything physical – I think of it as being a time when everything is right with the world.  With his book, his comfy pants and new socks on, and a cup of coffee in his hands, everything was definitely right with his world just then!

I’ve also finished off my Stylecraft Head over Heels socks.  It’s taken me a blooming long time to finish the second sock – not second sock syndrome but I was distracted by something else which I’ll show you in a minute.  I’m pleased with the way these socks have turned out – the shade is Kilimanjaro – and the stripes are easy to match if you’re not keen on pulling the insides of the ball out to find the match before you start.  I’ve finished these just in time as some of my older pairs of socks are reaching the point where they need to be retired, so it’s nice to have a new pair ready to wear.

This is what I was doing instead of my Stylecraft sock.  A friend’s birthday was coming up and I had an idea to knit something for her.  I had another ball of the Stylecraft Head over Heels yarn which I knew would be perfect; this one is Olympus and it’s a gradient yarn rather than stripes so just right for a shawl.

The pattern is Shore (Ravelry link) by Derya Davenport.  I’ve had my eye on it for a while and this was a good excuse to try it out.  It’s lovely when you can choose a pattern and yarn that you think will be just right for the person you’re knitting for – now that my friend’s birthday has passed I can show this to you!

I think this yarn would have driven me nuts if I’d tried to use it for socks, but I was really happy with the way it turned out for the shawl.  It started off with 398 stitches (no, I do not recommend casting on late in the evening after a glass of wine … just saying!) and got smaller which meant there were good long rows for the colours to change.  My friend was very pleased with it and she’s worn it a lot since I gave it to her which is lovely – it’s always double the pleasure when someone enjoys wearing something that you’ve enjoyed making for them.

I also wanted to show you the treats that I brought home from Yarndale before I forget.  Some are bought, some were gifts (thank you! xx) but I’m delighted with them all and I’ll look forward to using them over the coming months.

Clockwise: The Sock Drawerbook by Verity Harris of Truly Hooked (these are simple but effective lace sock patterns which I’m looking forward to knitting); Blacker Yarns Cornish Tin 2 in Wheal Rose Red (I sampled some of this limited edition yarn just before Yarndale and loved it – this is going to become socks); Blacker Yarns St Kilda Laceweight, another limited edition yarn dyed by The Yarn Goddess in Stac an Armin (actually deep pink shades, not purple as they look in the picture) and Stac Lee (undyed brown) which I absolutely didn’t need to buy but couldn’t resist after seeing this shawl knitted in it; a project bag from Three Bags Full, perfect for my next tutorial sock which is underway … photos coming soon!; “Yarndale Socks Rock” sock blank from Suffolk Socks (I’ve never used a sock blank before, this is going to be fun!); a covered notebook from AnnieOBTextiles which will be perfect for knitting notes; hand-dyed sock yarn from West Green Loft Yarns (in the centre of the picture); a skein of sunshine-coloured Wollmeise Allegria (which will definitely become a shawl at some point); purple Exmoor Sock yarn by John Arbon (I haven’t used this yarn before but have heard good things about it – I couldn’t resist that colour!) and a wristlet project bag from MySisterKnits which is just right for knitting socks on the go!

Oh, and I bought myself a new crochet hook from Fleabubs by Lala.  Lucy is going to be doing a new blanket CAL in January next year and I loved the sneak preview of the pattern she brought to Yarndale.  I’m going to join in (or at least, give it a good go!) and thought I’d get myself organised with a new hook.  My old crochet hooks are the old fashioned thin metal ones which make my fingers ache after a while, so I thought I’d try out an ergonomically-designed one.  Lucy and I have already established that I don’t crochet in the same way that she does so I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to hold a different style of hook, but this one fitted my hand perfectly.  And it’s pink and sparkly and has a unicorn on it.  What’s not to like?!

I think that’s us just about caught up!  Finally, before I go and start some work in my poor neglected garden, the official photographs from the British Knitting Awards are available.  Here’s me with a (not too cheesy) grin – I thought you might like to see it!  I’m with Sarah Neal who is the editor of Let’s Knit.  I didn’t get long to speak to her, but I thought she was very nice.  There’s something about the crafting world that attracts nice people, isn’t there?

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  I’m feeling much relaxed already – bring on the school holidays!

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18 Responses

  1. Seasidelife15 says:

    What's a sock blank, please?

    • Winwick Mum says:

      It's a knitted piece of fabric which is hand-painted and then unravelled when you want to knit with it. You don't how it's going to knit up until you start, but it can be fun finding out! xx

  2. Miverscorner says:

    I am also knitting a Shawl in the Stylecraft Head over Heels in the same colour Olympus💞

  3. AnnieOBTextiles says:

    Have a lovely half term and break from the school/work routine. The shawl is gorgeous and I love the colour. The head over heels yarn is on my wish list but I'm trying to resist until the stash is reduced a bit! Thank you very much for the mention too.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      You're very welcome! I always love a pattern which uses up all (or most) of a ball and the shawl was brilliant for that! xx

  4. Rita says:

    Love your Socks Christine, the colours are really nice. I see Arne & Carlos are bringing our new colours next month. Hugs Rita xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      They are, yes! I saw some pictures yesterday and it'll be interesting to see how they turn out with different sized socks. I like the way they've got the pattern all the way down to the toes – it has seemed such a waste to me that Pairfect yarn is only patterned at the top 🙂 xx

  5. Rachelradiostar says:

    Gorgeous socks and shawl there x Sorry to read other things have been taking over. Life is just so trixy. Another week till half term here. I'm still knitting the jumper for the HG that I seem to have been on with for The Whole Of My Life! This is mostly why I knit baby clothes!!!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I think you'll be ready for half term in another week – this is such a long term, isn't it? Next stop, Christmas! I don't knit jumpers any more for probably the same reason as you 🙂 xx

  6. Anonymous says:

    Loving the socks! Sounds like things are rather hectic, glad you'll get a little bit of a rest haha! – Helen 🙂

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I sympathise with your experience of house clearance & sales. My mum cleared out loads of stuff after my dad died but when she died there was still a huge amount of stuff to shift & the house sale was emotional – but it went to a lovely family and that's what should happen. I also agree on the comfort of knitting a good pair of socks – the pattern has that soothing familiarity & simplicity after you've made a few pairs the same, and luckily my husband is happy to wear pretty much any colour socks – in fact, he positively prefers bright colours.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Yes, in the end a house is just somewhere that was lived in and when the time is right, it should belong to a new family. It's not always easy letting go at the time, though! xx

  8. Lilly's Mom says:

    I am so happy for you Christine! You are a Super Sock Super Star! My congrats to you. And, thank you for sharing such an amazing shawl pattern. I'll have to take a look at it. Wishing you and your dear family all the best. Hugs, Pat xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thank you, Pat! The shawl is lovely to knit; because you start at the outside and work in you can see it growing very quickly xx

  9. Gillian Roe says:

    I love seeing the socks you knit, you are so talented. I recently crocheted my first pair – they're not up to your standards but I'm proud of them for a first effort. That shawl is gorgeous and the soft coral-pink is really beautiful. What a nice gift for a friend. x

    • Winwick Mum says:

      That's really kind of you to say, thank you! I'm sure that your crochet socks are fabulous and you should always be super-proud of them. I'm glad you've commented because you've reminded me to go and catch up with your latest posts – I have you on my blog feed but don't always see your posts before they disappear down the list and I really do love to see your photos! xx

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