This and that

I don’t know where the time is going. It’s Thursday already!  The days are rushing past, seemingly ever-faster, and it seems as if no sooner have I got up in the morning than it’s time for bed again. And what have I been doing with myself in those (feels like) few minutes between waking and sleeping? I will tell you!

The decluttering is still in progress. It’s going to be in progress for some considerable time, but I’m trying to do a bit every day so that it does actually get done. It’s tempting to leave it all until I have a spare few hours to tackle it, but I know that will never happen so every time I go into the garage or into a cupboard I have a look to see if there’s something that I don’t need any more. I’m down to the last few knitting magazines. Boy, this was a bigger job than I expected but I’m glad that I’ve done it now – the trick will be to keep on top of it as new magazines come in every month, but having finally made the decision that it’s OK to cut my magazines up, it should be easier to keep them under control.

I’ve bought a rather fab decluttering book, too, which has helped no end. It’s called Goodbye Clutter, Hello Freedom by Lena Bentsen and is a system of decluttering based on hygge. I have to say that I was a bit sceptical when I first saw this listed on an Amazon email but something drew me to it – I bought the Kindle version so that I could read it straight away, but also so that if I didn’t like it then I wouldn’t have spent a fortune on it. Hygge is fashionable at the moment and I wasn’t sure that this wouldn’t be just another book jumping on a bandwagon, but I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I’ve been delighted with this book. t’s written in a kind way for people like me who struggle with more “traditional” methods of decluttering – when someone tells me that if I’ve not worn an item of clothing or looked at an item for 12 months I should throw it away, it makes me feel quite anxious and then guilty that I can’t do it. In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to not wear something for a year or so and then want to wear it all the time. We are all anchored by our stuff although some people find it easier to be dispassionate about clearing out and therefore don’t have any problems with traditional decluttering methods. I am more of a hoarder collector, and my stuff is often tied up with memories and emotions which makes it very hard for me to throw it all away – in the past I have told myself to just get on with it and thrown away things that I later regretted, but of course it is too late then.  Goodbye Clutter, Hello Freedom deals with all of that in a way that made me feel calm and quite normal, and it also tackles that perennial decluttering toughie – how to declutter unwanted gifts. I was so fired up after reading this book – it’s only short so you can read it quite easily – that I went upstairs and cleared out my wardrobe and only managed to send one skirt to the charity shop that I hadn’t intended to re-home. Progress indeed!

Knitting progress has also taken place.  I’ve been playing around with a shawl design to use this yarn from West Green Loft Yarns which I’ll tell you more about another day; I discovered when I came to wind the skein that I couldn’t use it for socks because I wouldn’t be able to match them (perhaps not a problem for anyone else but definitely for me!) so I decided to knit a shawl instead. Knitting this has reminded me why I never begrudge paying a designer for their patterns – they have worked out how many stitches you need, how many rows to knit and they have been the ones to endlessly rip out their work whilst they work all of that out. This has been my “down-time” TV knitting and it has seen many hours of programmes whilst it has been knitted and re-knitted. In fact, if it doesn’t get finished soon, this shawl is going to want an invitation to Christmas dinner.

Luckily, socks are not as demanding as half-designed shawls.  This is the limited edition Marie Curie yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners which is knitting up a treat.  I’ve finished one sock and am onto the second one now; you can’t beat the comforting rhythm of rounds of a sock, especially when a shawl is trying to demand all the attention!  I think there may be a few balls of this special yarn left at Cityknits if you fancy a ball for yourself – £2.00 from the price of each ball is donated to the charity which makes it a very excuse to buy more yarn!

Yesterday, I abandoned both knitting and decluttering and went to Yorkshire to spend the day with my lovely friend Lucy.  I usually go up to Skipton on a Tuesday and join in with the knit n natter at Coopers where Lucy’s studio is, but life got in the way this month so we ended up meeting on a Wednesday. It’s been such a gloriously sunny week that we decided to go out for a walk and went to Bolton Abbey. We’ve been walking there before – I hadn’t realised quite how long ago it was – November 2015! You can read that post here if you’re interested in seeing it. Last time we went, there had been endless rain for weeks and the River Wharfe had been in full spate. Yesterday we found the opposite; the dry weather meant that the river was running much lower than usual although it was still a deep brown peaty colour and was still moving pretty fast.

We walked up to the Strid, a narrow channel where the water rushes through with incredible speed (you can read more about in my November post). This is what the water looked like on that November day …

and this is what it looked like yesterday.  You can see how much the water level has dropped – the rocks that we were standing on when I took this picture weren’t visible at all in the first photo.

There’s a good reason why that first photo is taken from a distance away; apparently the Strid is as deep as the river is wide in other places as the water, forced through that narrow channel, has eroded the rocks deep down into the earth.  It’s a dangerous place – people who have fallen in there have never been found and even yesterday, with the water so much lower, Lucy and I kept our distance. You can see here how high the water level normally is – right up to those green rocks …

and you can see how the swirling currents have worn away the rocks which are normally deep beneath the surface.

High up on dry land at the moment, this curved hole can’t usually be seen. The hollowed rocks are a fascinating sign of how nature works, but at the same time it gives you a bit of a shiver. It’s no wonder that anything that goes into the Strid doesn’t come back out again with those whirlpools.

I don’t know how well you can see from this picture, but at the top right hand side you can see a rock underneath the surface, and at the bottom is the peaty water which goes down and down with no sign of the bottom of the Strid in sight. Even though the water was relatively calm compared to the last time I saw it, given the way that the rocks have been worn down, I wouldn’t fancy anybody’s chances if they fell in.

Lucy and I continued our walk, climbing up and away from the Strid and following a circular route that took us back round to the Pavilion cafe where we had parked the car.  It’s a good length of walk; we were out for a couple of hours and we were glad to see the cafe across the river.

We had deserved our tea and cake!

Back at Lucy’s studio, the postman had been and I left Skipton with some rather exciting parcels. Yes – these are the first parcels for this year’s Yarndale Sock Line!  Would you like to see what’s in them?

Lots of socks! This is a fantastic start to this year’s Sock Line, so thank you to everyone who’s posted their socks to me already. It gives me a real buzz of excitement to think that our mission to send socky, woolly love to people who need it has started! It’s great to see the new Yarndale sock labels on the socks too – you can download those (and plain versions) from the Yarndale Sock Line page.

Lucy’s told me that more parcels have arrived for me to pick up next time I see her – I’ve got a really good feeling about this year’s Sock Line! During this next week, I’ll get the Pinterest page set up for this year so that you can see the socks as they come in, and don’t forget to let me know if you’ve got suggestions for where we can send them, too!

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4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I love reading your posts! I have the same problems with decluttering, but I keep trying. I'm sure the Sock Line will be full of beautiful pairs and it'll be inspiring to see the photos on your blog. Irune

    • Winwick Mum says:

      They're up on the Pinterest board now if you want to take a look 🙂

  2. Pat says:

    Such a lovely post! My first comment too. I am so keen to attempt my first pair of socks and have found oodles of advice and tips on your past blogs. Wish me luck!�� Pat from South Africa. I hope to send two pairs over to my son and daughter in law in Guildford for Christmas xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I'm glad you've found information to help, Pat! Socks that are knitted especially for someone are a wonderful gift and I am sure they will be very well-received. Just shout if you get stuck and I'll help out if I can! xx

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