Slow days

Well hello!  How are you on this fine February weekend?  Before I do anything else, I must say a HUGE thank you for all your lovely comments on the Easy Cable Socks.  I’m so pleased that they’re just the pattern that so many people seem to have been looking for, and I’m so looking forward to seeing the socks around on social media.  There are a few pairs in progress already!  I’m really hoping that this pattern acts as a springboard (just as the Sockalong pattern has done) so that you’ll feel much more confident when you look at other patterns in the future.

I’d also like to say thank you to everyone who’s subscribed to my YouTube channel – 100 people already, which is very exciting!  My plan is to keep working on videos this summer so that there are videos to go with the Sockalong tutorials as well and subscribers will automatically be notified when they are uploaded.  (I know this for a fact as small daughter has used my computer to subscribe to Minecraft YouTubers and I get a lot of notifications!)

After all the rush last weekend to get the Easy Cable Socks tutorial posted, I’ve been deliberately taking things more slowly this week.  There have been the usual walks with the dog … this week we have seen a lot of this heron …

although it’s entirely possible that we could have been seeing a different heron as there appear to be a few of them around.  This sounds quite crazy as they’re such big tall birds, but this next picture shows two of them in a tree.  Can you see them?  I didn’t know herons could land in trees, but this pair did.  I didn’t know what noise a heron made either but now I know that too, and it’s not your average bird sound.  The dog was oblivious to all this feathery education as he was occupied trying to pick up a log that was three times the size of himself.

I like to see how the paths that we walk down change with the seasons.  This is what this path looks like now – it’s really quite muddy at the moment and you have to watch where you’re putting your feet …

and this was a few short weeks ago.   The path had disappeared under the blanket of leaves and it was lovely to crunch through them.  The dog doesn’t like leaves for some reason – he’ll choose to walk around them rather than hurtle through them like our previous dog did – so it was quite funny watching him navigate his way to the water.

The weather is much milder and wetter again so I think our chances of snow are diminishing rapidly this winter.  I found a “this time last year” photo on my computer and we did have snow at the end of January, but the white stuff is staying well away this year.  Ah well, I did see some a few weeks ago so I’ll just be happy with that.

Do you remember the brave snowdrops I showed you growing out of the steps?  Miraculously, they have survived (actually, I don’t think the dog uses the steps, he just leaps over them) and here they are today.  A couple more have joined them and there are a good few clumps of them appearing around the garden now, which is always really nice to see.

I had a lovely surprise earlier this week when a parcel arrived from my aunt in Canada.

It’s called Knitting Ephemera and the cover calls it “a compendium of articles, useful and otherwise for the edification and amusement of the handknitter” and it’s stuffed with all kinds of facts about yarn and knitting that I didn’t know I needed to know.  I now know how to tell the difference between llamas and alpacas, I know that Euclan wool rinse is named after the eucalyptus and lanolin that it contains, I know that a centre-pull ball of yarn was once called a “false clue” (clew is an old Anglo-Saxon word for yarn which might be connected) … I always like to tell people that I am a mine of (often useless) information and this book has just added to the store cupboard of facts (I can see my family rolling their eyes in despair already!).  It’s a great gift if you’ve got a knitter in the family, and I am very pleased that my aunt sent it to me.  It also gave me a good excuse to spend a happy hour chatting to my aunt and uncle on the phone when I called them to say thank you.

My aunt must have been on the same wavelength as big daughter who bought me this book for Christmas.  I do enjoy reading the Yarn Harlot’s blog and I’ve been trying not to read more than a couple of pages of this at a time so that I don’t finish this book too quickly.  It’s made me laugh, it’s made me read pages out to my husband (who doesn’t really want to hear it but makes appropriate noises) and it’s made me realise that my family have no idea how lucky they are that I am not quite so obsessed about knitting at every opportunity as some other knitters are! 🙂

On the subject of reading material, I was delighted to see this month’s Simply Knitting magazine arrive.  It never fails to take my breath away when I see my words in a magazine, and I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat for most of the day.  I’m very grateful for this life of mine that lets me surround myself with knitting and yarn and sock-related stuff.

I’ve been able to catch up with a bit of blog reading this week, which has been lovely.  There are quite a few blogs that I really enjoy reading, and I always like to have a look around to see what else is new.  Small Things is a new favourite and I’ve spent rather a long time working my way through the archives when I should probably have been doing something else!  I’ve not really got into podcasts in the same way, probably because I don’t sit down much in the daytime and if I do, I’m often writing so listening to someone talking doesn’t work for me.  My husband is around in the evenings so we spend time together and sadly, listening to knitting podcasts isn’t on his list of fun things to do.  Having said that, I have been making a point of listening to more of late and this week I discovered quite a few that have made me want to go back and listen to new episodes.  The two that I usually do make time for are Crafternoon Treats (I know Kathryn and like her very much, so it’s a bit like sitting with a friend) and KnitBritish which I discovered through an article on when I was first starting to think about British yarns.  Louise’s podcast is all about British yarns and was massively helpful in giving me a place to start my no-nylon sock yarn search.  She’s going to be hosting the Blacker Yarns Podcast Lounge at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival again this year which brings me neatly into my next topic …

The Blacker Yarns Pod KAL (#blackerpodKAL), which is a knitalong to coincide with the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (the idea was to make something using Blacker Yarns and meet up in the Podcast Lounge at the show so that you could show yours off).  I decided to join in so that I could use up some of my Blacker Yarns stash and my first project was the Hartland Cliffs shawl.  I’m having a bit of sulk with my shawl, to be honest, as I’ve gone wrong again and I’ve had to unravel rather a lot of it.  No, I’m not going to show you because there’s nothing impressive about yards of curly, unravelled yarn.  The pattern is not complicated, it’s all plain knitting except for some K2tog pattern rows and yet it is apparently beyond me to knit it without disregarding the instructions and improvising wildly.  I’m using it to practice my continental knitting and perhaps I’m too busy trying to get a rhythm going to check whether I should actually be knitting that row or whether it’s a pattern row instead.  Anyway, instead I have used another skein of Blacker Yarns yarn that is lounging in my stash and cast on these rather lovely socks instead.

These socks are infinitely more well-behaved and it’s all going very well so far.  The pattern is Arwen from The Sock Drawer book written by Verity from Truly Hooked and the yarn is Tamar 4ply in the colourway Kensey from Blacker Yarns, which is another British breeds yarn – Teeswater, Wensleydale and Leicester Longwool sheep blended with Cornish mule to give the yarn a lovely lustre sheen.  Do you want to see what the sheep look like?  Oh go on, you know you do really …


These are Wensleydale sheep, and how could you fail to produce anything wonderful knitting from those curly locks?  Teeswater and Leicester Longwool have the same woolly coiffure and Cornish mules (usually a Blue-faced Leicester with mountain sheep cross) are slightly less dreadlocked …


Anyway, I’m digressing from the sock.   Like Hartland Cliffs, it’s another a relatively easy pattern although it does require a little more concentration than the shawl and so far I haven’t made any ridiculous mistakes.  So far.  There’s still time.

My husband and small daughter are going out to watch a pantomime tonight so big daughter and I have lined ourselves with a bottle of wine (suddenly it’s not so bad having a daughter who’s over 18!), a takeaway and a good film.  It’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday evening – I hope yours is just as good!

Edit:  In case you’re interested, big daughter and I watched Eddie the Eagle about the British ski jumper in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.  I can remember the excitement about his jumps and the media frenzy over it all!  It’s very definitely a feel-good film and a lesson in tenacity from which we all could learn!

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21 Responses

  1. Heartsdesire says:

    Thanks so much for the cable sock tutorial, it will be perfect for spring knitting when I can sit outside on our deck. Small Things is a blog I am also new to, but am really enjoying it. Her hand-dyed wools are fabulous, and such glorious colours. Love your snowdrops. They really are the harbingers of spring. Even though, for some reason, we have snow today (it's melting fast) I'm so ready for spring. Living on the south end of Vancouver Island, we don't usually get much snow and spring comes fairly early. I've seen camellias blooming recently and the tips of daffodils poking through the ground. Enjoy your Saturday evening, it sounds like fun.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Wow, if you've got camellias already then that is early! It'll be another month or so before we see any camellia flowers. I forget that Canada is such a big place – my aunt and uncle live in Ontario and are expecting more snow this week and yet you don't get much at all – it must be like living in a different country sometimes! xx

  2. Kaisievic says:

    What a great post! Thank you for taking me on your walk with you, love the snowdrops and those sheep – very cute!

  3. suzyjune says:

    Christine, you have the most interesting blog!! I look forward to reading about your world of knitting very much! It is so different from my sedate corner of the Earth 🙂 Isn't the internet wonderful that those of us from all different parts of our world can be so connected in something we all have in common and that we each love so much.

    Thank you for allowing us glimpses into your world.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thank you! And yes, I love that the internet can connect us to places and people that we would otherwise know nothing about. It's modern day magic! xx

  4. selina says:

    what a lovely walk, thoroughly exhausted now! those sheep are so stylish with their curls! so unusual!
    you'll be happy to know i've started in with the sock-a-long on our DTE forum! am just up to the toe decreases, though i won't be doing a pair a month but do hope to make a couple throughout the year
    thanx for sharing

  5. AnnieOBTextiles says:

    Thanks for all the information and links Christine. Your blog is always so interesting to read. The books look like perfect gifts to give and receive!

  6. Diella Taylor says:

    I love those long curly wool-ed sheep!

  7. Josephine says:

    Wonderful post! Those sheep look like long-legged sheep-faced Puli dogs. And thanks for the recommendation on Eddie the Eagle. I remember him, and I just put a reserve on the DVD at my local library.

    Speaking of libraries, you have a librarian's mind, it's a very useful trait for the library world, having a mind that clings to obscure facts.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      A librarian's mind! I like that, thank you – I'll be able to inform my family of that fact the next time they tell me I'm full of useless facts! 🙂 xx

  8. Vicky says:

    How exciting and awesome to see yourself in print! 🙂 Is that a regular column or a one off? Awesome either way! And I am one of your youtube subscribers. 😉 Thanks so much for doing the videos, I have more or less got the hang of your sock pattern now but I am such a visual learner that it's lovely to have that visual aid as well. Thumbs up.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      It is indeed exciting and awesome! I do an occasional column for Simply Knitting so it's not every month but maybe a couple of times a year. I'm so glad you're finding the videos useful, and thanks for subscribing! xx

  9. Bethany says:

    Haha!! Those curly sheep remind me of hair from the 80s kinked up from a crimping iron!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh yes! Thankfully, I was never tempted to try that even though my hair was considerably longer in the 80s than it is now 🙂 xx

  10. Jo says:

    Everywhere's so muddy at the moment, I come back black after taking Archie for a walk. We're forecast snow at the end of the week so you may be lucky after all, I have to admit that I'm not so fond of the white stuff, unless I can stay indoors and watch it from the window.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Ooh, snow … {hurries off to check weather report} … none forecast for us, unfortunately, so make sure you take lots of photos for me through the window! 🙂 xx

  11. Opal @Threadlover says:

    I still have a lot of Teeswater and Wensleydale fleeces in my shed just waiting to be clean and spun into yarn. I enjoy books about knitting so thanks for sharing what you received. The ONLY one I had not heard of is the one by The Yarn Harlot.

  12. Fil Campbell says:

    I love those sheep 🙂 They're so dignified looking 🙂
    I've just finished MY FIRST SOCK!!!!! yaaaaayyyyy – and it fits lol. Thank you so very much for the wonderful detailed instructions on the sock along – demystified it perfectly. I'll share a picture in a future post.
    My only dilemma now is which of all the gorgeous wools available should I choose for the next pair – decisions, decisions lol

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh well done, I'm so glad you've found the Sockalong tutorials helpful. There's no shortage of yarns to choose from – but it can become a bit of a rabbit hole when you start looking so be warned! 🙂 xx

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