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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

To everything there is a season ...

There are some people who would say that every blogger's post is self-indulgent, but today's post particularly is as I have written it knowing that I will be able to look back on in it in the future and remember - and for that I make no apology.

When big daughter was very small, I retrained as a gardener and one of my first clients was a lovely lady who had an equally lovely and very large Victorian walled garden.  Fifteen years later, the lady has sold her house and is moving on, and today was my last visit to the walled garden when I have spent very many hours in all kinds of weather.  We always knew this day was coming and it's absolutely the right thing for her to be doing, but it's still sad to know that the season has changed and something has come to an end.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Yarndale 2018 - my favourite yarny weekend!

Two weeks ago, I drove up to Skipton to help set up for the 6th annual Yarndale festival.  It was a gloriously sunny day for late September - I think someone at Yarndale has a magic weather wand as the weather has always been nicer than you might expect - and I sang at the top of my voice in the car all the way.  

When I got there, the preparations were in full swing and the Yarndale Hub was abuzz with activity.  (All the activity is behind me, this was a rare moment when no one was walking past! :) )

Saturday, 6 October 2018

More Super Socks giveaway results

Morning everyone!

Thank very much to everyone who left a comment in the More Super Socks giveaway - I'm a bit later in posting the results of the draw than I intended to be but they're here now.

I've counted up the number of names (it's less than the number of comments as I've replied to some of them) and put them into the generator and this is the number that it's chosen ...

Happy Hooker, it's you!

Congratulations!  If you can drop me an email with your address then I'll get your book out to you straight away.  

I'd also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of my new book whether in your words or whether you've bought it.  I loved meeting everyone who came to see me at Yarndale - it was super-busy and I do appreciate the time that people spent waiting to talk to me and show off your socks.  I'll be writing a post about Yarndale very soon - I think it's taken me the best part of the week to unpack and recover from all the book and Yarndale excitement!

Whatever you're doing today, have a wonderful day! xx

Saturday, 29 September 2018

More Super Socks release day!

Oh wow, what an exciting day this is!  

My second sock-knitting book, More Super Socks, is released today and I am thrilled to see it finally leave the confines of my computer screen and go out into the world!  It's written to be the next step on from Super Socks and takes you through adding cables, lace, intarsia and colourwork to your socks.  Four brand new patterns will help you to practice the techniques that you learn in the book.

You can take a tour of the book and see all the patterns inside here.

What do you think?  Would you like a copy?  Here's how you can get one!

💜 Signed copy through the blog

Click on this link HERE to buy a signed copy through the blog.  I'll post to anywhere in the world, but please be sure to choose your correct postal country from the drop down list as PayPal won't calculate the postage for you.  If you're using an iPad or iPhone, you'll need to email me for an invoice as there's a PayPal issue with these Apple devices.  Don't forget that I'm at Yarndale this weekend so I'll send them as soon as I get a minute!

Friday, 28 September 2018

One more sleep!

It seemed like an age away only a few short months ago, but Yarndale weekend is finally here!  

In a few short hours, the Auction Mart in Skipton will be transformed from this ...

to this.

It's one of those occasions that feels like a roller coaster clattering up the steep slope ready for the moment when the cars reach the top and glide down again at an unstoppable speed.  I love the setting-up day when the Mart is full of bustle, noise and anticipation, and of course I love the Yarndale days too when the bustle, noise and anticipation levels swell immensely to fill the whole building with yarny happiness.

If you're coming to see Lucy and me in the Knit n Natter lounge, don't forget that there's been a floor plan change this year.  The main entrance door to the lounge is still there and you'll find Lucy in the auction ring, but I'm going to be upstairs (you'll be able to wave to me whilst you chat to Lucy!) and between us will be rows of bench seats with comfy cushions so that you can sit down for a bit and take in all that yarny happiness.  You'll need to come up some steps or a ramp to come and show me your socks, but I am sure you'll be impressed with my lofty vantage point so it will be worth the effort :)  

I'll have my sample needles with me as usual if you haven't tried knitting socks before but want to give it a go, and I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have about knitting socks.  I might not know the answer, but I'll give it a go! :)

The Yarndale Sock Line will look a little different this year in our new space but I am very confident that it's still going to look fabulous.  The lighting is much better this year too, so you should get a good view of all the beautifully coloured yarns and all that socky love.

If you're coming to pick up a pre-ordered copy of More Super Socks, please remember to bring your PayPal receipt so that I can match you up with the copies that I've set aside.  

I'll have more copies with me so if you wanted to look at the display copy first, there should still be copies to buy, and I'll have Super Socks and the Winwick Mum Sockalong badges with me as well.  Oh, and I've gone all tech and got a card reader this year which I hope will be helpful - get me! :)

It's going to be such a good fun weekend, I can't wait to see you if you're coming to the festival and to tell you all about it if you're not!  See you soon! xx

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Easy Colourwork Socks - free pattern and tutorial

Hi there!  I'm really glad to see that I didn't scare you off yesterday with all this talk of  colourwork knitting, so let's get started with this new pair of socks.  Before we start, I need to warn you that there are lots of photos in this tutorial, plus video links! 

This post follows on from yesterday's getting started post (which you can find here if you missed it) where I talked about the socks and tried to answer some of the questions you might have.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Easy Colourwork Socks - getting started

Have you ever looked at patterns knitted in two or more colours and thought they would be fabulous for socks?  It seems that more and more these days, colourwork is an integral part of pattern design and it's not really as hard to do as you might think.

From simple, two-colour geometric designs like this ...

to Norwegian designers Arne and Carlos' Scandinavian style ...

to pattern books encouraging you to develop your own style, it seems that colourwork is everywhere.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Counting down

With less than a week to go before Yarndale, I'd love to tell you that everything's all ready here at Winwick Mum HQ and I'm putting my feet up before a wonderfully busy, yarny weekend.

Er - no.

However, I am well-practised at the last-minute-fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of preparation (and not just for Yarndale - this technique works well for Christmas too!) and this week is one giant to-do list that I am slowly but surely working my way through.

What I have been doing this week is making sure that I get out with the dog for a decent walk every day.  It's been so tempting to skip it, to just take a few brisk laps of the village instead so that I can get back to The List, but I know that taking that hour out to give him a proper run will make all the difference.  

By the time we get home, I'm all fired up from striding out and getting some speed up (it's all very well taking time out but I've got a list of jobs to do, don't you know?!), the dog's a happy boy because he loves these muddy woods and I've made some sense of the order of my list in my head.  It's like magic.  Fresh air really is magic, and it's free.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Still here

Hello, I'm still here!  Just three weeks to go till Yarndale now and I'm going as fast as I can to get All The Jobs done beforehand!

First of all, though, I want to say thank you very much to everyone who has pre-ordered a copy of More Super Socks to pick up at Yarndale.  I'm really looking forward to seeing you all there!  If you missed last week's post and you're coming to Yarndale, you can find the pre-order post here and the post about More Super Socks and what's inside here.  I'm super-excited to think that it's only three weeks till the book launch!

Now, though, let me tell you about what's been keeping me busy this week: the Yarndale Sock Line Socks!  I'm so glad to finally have these now that I've been up to see Lucy, and thank you so much to everyone who has sent socks in to me.  I can't tell you how lovely it is to see such a huge pile of parcels and know that each one contains a gift for a stranger who needs some woolly love.  This is just a small selection of them - there was a bin bag full plus another box - it was amazing!

Saturday, 1 September 2018

More Super Socks - Yarndale collection pre-orders

Hello again!  Thank you so much for all your kind words on the blog and social media about yesterday's post about More Super Socks - I was really quite nervous about showing the book to you after keeping it all a secret for such a long time!  Quite crazy, I know, but it's a very strange feeling to know that you don't have to be quiet about something any more and you can shout about it all you like! :)

Today is the day that the pre-orders open for collection at the Yarndale festival in Skipton at the end of September.  If you missed the tour of the book patterns so that you can see what's inside the book, you can find that post here.

Is there a particular reason why I'm doing this?  Yes, there is.  There are a couple, in fact: firstly, I have no idea how many people will want a copy of this book and I don't want anyone to be disappointed if they've travelled all the way to Yarndale only to find that I didn't bring enough copies with me.  Secondly, if you've been to Yarndale before then you'll know that the floors are uneven in places and all of the stands are in rows of animal pens.  The Knit n Natter lounge where I will be with Lucy of Attic24 again is right in the middle of the Auction Mart and I don't want anyone to think that they have to rush to find me in case the book sells out; if you already have a copy reserved then I'll keep it safe until you come to pick it up.  

Friday, 31 August 2018

More Super Socks

Hello!  I promised to tell you more about my new book, More Super Socks, and today's the day.  I am so excited to show you what this book is about!

Well, here it is.  Introducing ... More Super Socks.  

The idea behind this book is that it helps to bridge the gap between knitting the basic Sockalong sock that's in the Winwick Mum Sockalong tutorials and the first Super Socks book, and knitting other patterns that are more complicated.  For some people, that jump is an easy one after learning how a sock is constructed, but for other people it still seems like a jump too far.  It's only the same as being someone who likes to leap straight into a swimming pool from the side or getting in down the steps.  Either way, you still end up in the water!

Wednesday, 29 August 2018


Helloo!  How are you doing?  Thanks for all your lovely comments on my last post - I've not been so good at replying to them all over the holidays but I will catch up soon!

I've been busy trying to dodge the rain showers this week.  The dog and I were out for walk yesterday morning in glorious sunshine and I read that the weather was going to be good for the rest of the week.  "I'll cut the grass tomorrow," I thought ... and woke to torrential rain this morning.  Ah well.  The UK summer is back! :)

Whilst the dog and I were out in the fields, I spotted this flower that I'd never seen before ...

Saturday, 25 August 2018

It's all about the socks

It's been quite a while since I wrote a post that was about nothing but socks - but here it is!  I've got plenty to tell you about yarns and knitted socks, so get yourself a brew and let's get started!

Here are the latest Yarndale Sock Line parcels.  If you've missed the post from earlier this year, you can find out all about the Sock Line here.

They've been coming in thick and fast and there are so many of them - and they're all still in Yorkshire with Lucy!  Oh these school holidays, they do get in the way sometimes :)  Routines go completely out of the window, don't they, and Lucy and I haven't had chance to catch up with each other since before the schools broke up.  I'm regretting leaving that bag-full in her studio the last time I saw her as at least I'd have some socks to show you, but it is how it is, as someone once said to me (he was a builder, so imagine saying it whilst shaking your head, drinking very strong tea and explaining why your house extension was running three weeks late).  However, it's a useful phrase to remind you that not everything is in your control and I seem to have been saying it a lot just lately!

Sunday, 19 August 2018


This time last week, it was our last day in Stockholm.  We'd been there since late on Wednesday night, the second "instalment" of our family holidays which we decided this year to split into two city breaks.  (Our first was Granada in May.)

It's very different to Granada, as you'd expect.  We were in a capital city, after all, so in lots of ways it was much more like London with it's public transport system, banking district and shopping areas.  

In hindsight, it wasn't the best place to go for a restful week in August, especially as when there's something to be seen then we like to see it, but Stockholm has been on our list of places to visit for a long time so we knew that we wanted to go when we were planning our holidays at the beginning of the year.  We went on the sightseeing bus tour on our first morning - always our first port of call in a new city as it gives us a good overview of what's there and what we want to go back to see.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Summer things

Small daughter came back from a week at an international Scout and Guide camp on Saturday, and I seem to have been washing and ironing ever since.  She only took one rucksack but I think we must have managed to stuff enough clothes into it for a six month backpacking trip! 

I've been a bit worried that this week would seem boring after her camp full of pirate-themed activities including scuba diving, quad biking, crafting, socialising and full-on festival-ing, but to be honest, I think she's been glad of the rest.  What we have noticed is that the house is noisier, messier, the fridge is constantly empty and that the WiFi access in the house has slowed right down again, but we're still very glad to have her back :)

Popping out the greenhouse to "check" on the tomatoes has been a favourite activity ... 

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Evening shadows

It's usually easier for my schedule to walk the dog earlier in the day but recently we've been heading out in the evening instead.  I'd forgotten just how nice it is to see the sun setting across the fields and through the trees, and as the days have been a little cooler it's been more pleasant for the dog as well.  

We've had the rain recently; heavy heavy showers that have filled up the water barrels to overflowing and made the grass green again.  It's still warm though, and we're appreciating not having to take extra layers out with us in the evenings.  

Slow summer days and long summer evenings.  We've been very spoilt this year.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Edge of the diving board

All year we've been working our way step by step out along the diving board until now - with the last day of school finally here - we're ready to make the leap and plunge into the summer holidays.  It seems quite incredible that a whole school year is over!

On the one hand, I am so ready (and so is small daughter) to take a break from the early mornings, the reminders to take a waterproof now that the rain has returned, the constant "have you got your homework - wait, have you done your homework?" questions and the obligation to wear school uniform every day and I'm very much looking forward to having both my girls around all the time, but on the other hand a small part of me is rather worried about whether I'm going to get anything remotely work-like done over the holidays.  I think the word "Mum" (in our house it's pronounced "Mu-u-um") is used just to break the silence in our house sometimes, but sadly it breaks my concentration as well although often I do get a get a brew out of it (big daughter has just come to talk to me whilst I'm writing this and we're laughing as I'm disturbed yet again, although she is brewing up so I'll forgive her :) )  I think the plan will be to get up early as that's something that neither of the girls tend to do - or to take myself out of the way, but more of that later!

I've been trying to pack in all of those jobs that are best done before school holidays.  Last week I went to Skipton to see Lucy and to pick up the Yarndale Sock Line socks.  

Monday, 16 July 2018

Jogging along

After another sunny weekend, it's overcast and drizzly here this morning and I am not complaining at all!  I seriously can't remember the last time we had such a continuous run of sunny weather and I'm not complaining about that either, but it's good to see the rain again.

It's Monday too, the start of a whole new week.  It stretches ahead of me, blank pages to be filled with ... work, shopping, knitting, after school clubs, dog walks, gardening, all kinds of jobs that are best done before the school holidays (you know, the sort that might just involve a brew with a friend ;) ) ... and I am blessed to be able to do it all.  However busy we are, however much we don't fancy doing something on our list, there's always a parallel universe in which we would give anything to be doing that instead of what we are currently engaged in and I never forget that.    

And on that happy note let me show you what's going on in our little patch of the world this week :)

My "office" which relocated to a shady patch underneath an umbrella in the garden during the sunny days has returned indoors to the kitchen table.  It would go back to the desk in my study if I could find it under the piles of paper and stuff that appears to have grown on it like some kind of peculiar mould, but for now I'm quite happy here because I'm closer to the kettle.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Monthly Musing - July 2018 - Good enough

Do you ever have those times when you realise that you’ve not done something that you intended to do, feeling your stomach sink in that moment of “Uh oh, how do I fix that?” panic?  Sometimes it can be something pretty big (“my MOT certificate is really out of date”) and sometimes it’s not really that big at all (“I forgot to buy bread rolls”), but still that plummeting feeling can catch you unawares.

I forgot to write the Monthly Musing last month.  Did you notice?  Did it ruin your day?  I thought not (although apologies if it did).  After a few moments of “Uh oh, how do I fix that?”; “Can I write it and backdate it and pretend nothing was wrong?” and “How on earth could I forget that?!”, I realised that there was really no point in worrying about it.  On a scale of 1 to 10, it wasn’t up there with anything life-threatening or seriously problem-causing; my Monthly Musings are something that I write because I like to.  The deadlines are my own, and if I miss a month (intentionally or not) then the world doesn’t stop.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Dried out

Wow, it's been hot hot HOT!  

We're not used to this sort of heatwave in the UK; usually we get a couple of days of sunshine, the newspapers print headlines like "Phew, what a scorcher!" and compare Britain's temperature to various places overseas where it's not as hot as here (and we all know that Britain is regularly hotter than Bahrain, right? :) ), everybody puffs and pants about, complaining about the heat despite the fact that it's rained solidly for the previous nine months, and then it rains again.  

But not this time.  

This year, we've had proper sunny sunshine for weeks with not a drop of rain to be seen, and just like when it snows heavily, we have no idea how to cope.  People are walking their dogs in ridiculous temperatures and wondering why they're dying (seriously, would you like to chase a ball in a fur coat?  Our dog has spent most of his time in his favourite shady spot - there will be more than enough time for long walks later in the year).  We've had an email already from the water company asking people not to keep refilling paddling pools or use garden sprinklers so that they can conserve precious water resources and people complain about the prospect of hosepipe bans because - heaven forbid - their grass might turn brown instead of green.  This is what our grass looks like at the moment.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Doing our bit to reduce plastic use

We've been on a bit of a mission in our house recently to try to reduce the amount of plastic that we've using.  It's no secret that the levels of plastic that are filling the oceans, the hedgerows and the landfill sites are reaching a worrying level, and it's only by us all doing our bit that we're going to make any kind of difference.  We've always tried to shop consciously and to try not to send any more rubbish to landfill than we can help, but since watching the episode of the BBC programme Blue Planet II about plastic in the ocean (it's episode 7, here's a preview of a section of it), big daughter has decided that we need to up our game.

She started off by reading this book called No More Plastic by Martin Dorey.  It's only little and it's a really quick read - I'd finished it pretty much by the time I'd finished my brew - but it's full of good ideas which don't take much effort to implement.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

No-nylon sock yarn review: Whistlebare Cuthbert's Sock

It's been far too long since I last wrote a no-nylon sock yarn review so it's time to put that right.  These socks are knitted in Whistlebare Cuthbert's Sock and I've been wearing them for quite a while now so I can give you an update on how they've got on.

Magic Mirror Socks in Whistlebare Cuthbert's Sock

The pattern is called Magic Mirror, it's a free pattern on Ravelry that I thought would be perfect for this yarn, and I'm delighted with how they turned out!  My yarn is in two shades: the turquoise is called Kirk Yelthom and the pink is called Grubbit Law.  They're both named after places along St Cuthbert's Way, which is a long distance walk between the Scottish Borders and Lindisfarne in Northumberland.  As the Whistlebare farm is based in Northumberland, it's the perfect name for their sock yarn!

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Catching up

I've just been looking through my photos and I've realised that I've been busy snapping away but haven't actually shown you what I've been snapping recently!  Oh, the hardship of having to do exciting things like photo shoots and go away on holiday instead of showing you the garden :)  Anyway, this seemed like a good time for a catch up so here's what's been going on over the last six weeks or so. 

Firstly, I finally finished the IOU Christmas socks.  Here's big daughter's pair ...

Friday, 15 June 2018

Your Crochet and Knitting magazine kit review

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I went to the Knit Now magazine photo shoot?  Whilst I was there, I met Angela who's the editor of a brand new magazine called Your Crochet & Knitting which will be on sale for the very first time in a couple of weeks.  

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

British Knitting & Crochet Awards 2018

Well, something super-exciting has happened and I need to say thank you to you!

The nominations for the Let's Knit magazine British Knitting & Crochet Awards 2018 have been released and the voting is now open ... and I'm thrilled to tell you that I am once again nominated in the Favourite Knitting Blog category.  Thank you so much to everyone who nominated me for this Award - it's the third time that Winwick Mum has been involved and I am very grateful for your support.

It's been really interesting to see how these Awards have changed over the last three years: at first, they were dominated by yarn shops and by large commercial yarn and accessory brands, but what's been really lovely to see has been how smaller independent names - like me! - have started to appear in all of the categories.  I think it shows how our crafting industry is changing and how people are much more confident about supporting smaller enterprises - a bit like shopping at a local farm shop rather than a supermarket, I suppose!

Last year, there were almost 15,000 votes for over 60 companies or individuals - like me! - in 33 categories, and this year there is a new category of Favourite Yarn for Toys to recognise the increasing interest in knitted and crocheted toys.  It's tough competition and even a nomination is an honour. 

If you'd like to see the posts that I wrote on the last two Awards ceremonies which were held at Alexandra Palace in London, you can find them here and here.  It's quite an event, and definitely something to be in the same room with so many famous crafting people!  

It always feels a bit odd to me to ask you firstly for your nomination and then for your vote - I don't really like having to do that as it feels like an imposition on your time - but that's what this post is about.  I'd love for you to vote for me in the Favourite Knitting Blog category, so that more people can find out about Winwick Mum and I can hopefully help more people to discover sock knitting.  I'd love to go back to the Awards ceremony this year so that I can share it with you all afterwards.  I'd love to think that a chance flick through a copy of Let's Knit magazine and an article about the Awards might just be what someone needed on a day when they thought sock knitting was beyond them, and what a difference it might make.

Thank you in advance if you are able to spend a few minutes completing the voting form.  You'll see lots of interesting nominations in the categories - some familiar names and others that are not so familiar - and I think you'll be impressed by the breadth of the nominations too.

The voting is open now until 30 August 2018 and everyone who votes is eligible to win a prize - this year, there are two bundles of yarn, patterns and more worth £700.  Unfortunately, it's only open to UK residents so you're not able to vote if you're abroad, but I still very much appreciate your support through reading my blog and being in my Facebook groups - thank you! xx

Friday, 8 June 2018


Gosh, it's Friday again!  The week has passed me by in a bit of a blur; it was school holidays here (again) last week and it always takes me some time to get back into the swing of things again.

We made the decision not to go on a beach holiday this year but instead to have short city breaks and last week we went to Granada for a few days.  It's been on our list for quite a number of years but it's not been until now that we've thought it would be a good holiday for the girls as well.  (There was some muttering when they realised there was no pool and no beach on the itinerary, but we did go to the Hammam al Andalus (Arab baths) which were deemed to be a suitable alternative.)

Granada is a lovely city, and easy to get to with a direct flight from Manchester.  Then we hopped onto a bus and before long were in the city centre.  Granada is a very diverse city and over the years has been home to Jews, Muslims and Christians, all of which is evident in the architecture and, of course, in the famous Alhambra Palaces.  We stayed in the Albaicin district, originally home to the Muslim inhabitants of the city, in an apartment along the Carerra del Darro.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Yarndale Sock Line 2018

It's that time of year again ... Yarndale Sock Line time!  

If you've never heard of the Yarndale Sock Line, let me tell you a little bit about it.  Back in 2015, the year that the Sockalong started, people who had started to knit their own socks asked if it would be possible for sock bunting to be hung up at Yarndale - it would fit beautifully with Yarndale's mission to celebrate craft and creativity, and would also be an opportunity for people to show what they had learnt in the few short months since the Sockalong had started.  If you've ever been to Yarndale, you'll have seen the miles and miles of bunting that decorate the entrance hall; what could be better than socks to go with it?

My lovely friend Lucy from Attic24, a sock knitter herself nowadays, was all in favour and the Yarndale Sock Line was born!  The idea was that anyone who wanted to could send in socks to hang up in the Auction Mart - but then it struck me that it would be such a shame to put them away in storage after a weekend of being on display, not to mention where they would be stored (I could just imagine my husband's face when I told him that our house was to be insulated by sock bunting!).  I decided that instead of single socks, I would ask for pairs which could be given away after Yarndale; it was a big ask in both time and money as yarn isn't cheap and socks can be quite time-consuming to knit, but but I had reckoned without the kindness of the crafting community and before long, pairs of socks were flooding in.  The rest, as the saying goes, is history!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Monthly Musing - May 2018 - Tea for Two

            “Did you think I’d forgotten to make the tea?”

            It was a Sunday morning and I was in a shared hotel room with one of my best friends.  It had been a gloriously indulgent weekend of chatting, eating and pleasing ourselves whilst our respective families pretended they couldn’t cope without us (just for our benefit, of course!).  We had been taking it in turns to get up to make the morning brew; this morning was my friend’s turn and as she had disappeared to clean her teeth just as the kettle boiled, I got out of bed to pour the water onto the tea bags. 
             “No, I didn’t think you’d forgotten,” I replied.  “I was just saving you having to re-boil the kettle.”
            “So it’s not that you think that I’m incapable of brewing up, then?”
            “Of course not!”
            “I could be offended by that.”
            I stared at her.  “What?”
  I’ve known my friend for longer now than I’ve not known her.  She is well-read, thoughtful, wise and considerate.  She is without question someone I turn to when life gets a little rough and I am blessed to have her as my friend.  I would never dream of doing anything that would upset her.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Knit Now photo shoot

Hello!  What are you up to today, then?  D'you fancy coming to watch a magazine photo shoot with me?  I mentioned last week that I'd been over to Stockport to see how it all went on, so grab your jacket and come on!

First, though, I must say a huge thank you for all the lovely comments on my Patchwork Socks.  I do love writing tutorials, but I also very much appreciate you telling me that you love them too!  I'm so looking forward to seeing your socks, so do tag me into photos or add your projects to Ravelry so that I can see!

So, off to Stockport we go.  I'm not very familiar with Stockport which is a town not far from Manchester, but luckily the sat nav knows where we're going and it's not long before we arrive in this rather unassuming street of old mill buildings.  

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Patchwork Socks - free pattern and tutorial

Hello hello, it's great to see you back again!  Ooh, it's an exciting day ... are you ready to make a start on your Patchwork Socks?  Before we start, I need to warn you that there are lots of photos in this tutorial, plus video links!

This post follows on from yesterday's getting started post (which you can find here if you missed it) where I talked about the socks and tried to answer some of the questions you might have.

I created this pattern to show off mini-skeins of yarn, although you could just as easily use leftovers.  I like the idea that multi-coloured socks don't have to be striped or variegated and that we can create the blocks of colour for ourselves which works perfectly with the intarsia method of knitting. 

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Patchwork Socks - getting started

This tutorial has been a long time coming, but you'll be pleased to know that the latest in my series of "next step" patterns is finally here!  So far in the series have been the Easy Cable and Easy Lace socks, patterns written to help you feel more confident using these techniques and about moving on to try out other patterns.  It's been lovely to see how many people have been inspired to try cables and lace after I posted my tutorials - and to hear how many people haven't found them nearly as hard as they expected!

So, continuing with the theme of showing you techniques to give the basic Sockalong 4ply sock a bit of pizazz (don't you just love that word?!), this tutorial is all about using intarsia to incorporate different colours - it's perfect for leftovers and, as sock knitters, we know all about those, don't we? :)

Intarsia is a method of knitting where you use blocks of colour, wrapping the yarns around each other as you change them so that you don't get a hole.  You'll perhaps be more familiar with the idea of intarsia through projects like this ...

which is my Geometric Star jacket designed by Kaffe Fassett which I wore to a lecture given by him last year.  Or how about this? 

Friday, 18 May 2018

And there it was ...

Friday, just like that!  It seems like only minutes that it was Monday but then again, it has been a busy week!

Monday ... I went out for lunch with my husband.  This is a rare occurrence as he's always super-busy so you can forgive me for announcing it as an event of the week.  We sat outside a small cafe in the next village to ours eating the biggest ploughman's lunch I've ever seen and we caught up on all kinds of stuff that we don't often get chance to talk about at home.  It was so lovely - sunshine, good company, good food ...  it's not often that you can feel that time stops but every now and again with moments like these you feel that it just might be possible.

Tuesday ... I went to see my friend Lucy in Skipton - we walked in the woods at Bolton Abbey, relishing the last of the bluebells and noticing that the wild garlic is so close to blooming.  Every now and again we got a waft of garlicky air, along with that gorgeous woodlands-in-the-sunshine scent that makes you feel as if you never want to leave the place.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Yarn Shop Day 2018

Did you get out to your local yarn shop last Saturday?  Lots of people made it to Black Sheep Wools where I spent my day - it was fab!  It never feels like any kind of work to pass the time in a yarn shop talking about socks, and I had such a lovely time.  I met beginners and experienced knitters, admired socks on feet and on needles and hope that I've encouraged a few more people to give sock knitting a go.

There are still signed copies of Super Socks at the craft barn if you want a copy but didn't get chance to get there on Saturday.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Walking with alpacas

It was May Day bank holiday weekend here in the UK last weekend, a holiday weekend that always coincides with the first Monday in May.  For the first time in a long time on a bank holiday, the sun shone and it was wonderful to be outside and feel the sun on our faces.

Early on Saturday morning, the girls and I were up and out to Walton Hall Gardens, a hall and gardens (as you'd expect from the name!) on the other side of Warrington.  They've got huge gardens to wander around, a crazy golf course, children's play area and a children's zoo.  The zoo has been there for years; it's not very big but has quite a range of animals there including red squirrels, donkeys, goats, Herdwick sheep, a whole flock of peacocks and alpacas.  Big daughter spotted an advertisement on social media for their alpaca walks and I didn't take much persuading for us to go - and, of course, I wore my New Leaf alpaca socks! :) 

There are three alpacas at the zoo who all go out to walk together and as one of them, Jim, can be a bit temperamental he walks with the zoo ranger, there were just two spaces to book - one space had already been taken so we were lucky to get the other one.  They were waiting for us at the zoo ...

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

GDPR compliance

If you're living in the EU (and this includes the UK for now, despite our Brexit negotiations), you have probably heard about GDPR.

These are new regulations which come into force on 25 May and improve protection of our personal data - it means that amongst other things, companies can't pass on our email addresses to "selected third parties" without saying who those third parties are, they can't ask for information that doesn't relate to what you are signing up for (eg, asking for your ethnic origin or religious persuasion when entering a competition to win a coffee maker unless it's relevant) and that we have the right to ask for our data to be deleted from a company's files if we don't want them to be in contact with us any more.

These regulations also affect people like me who have a subscriber email list and so I have to ask you to update your information to confirm that you want to stay on the list to receive blog post updates, or to unsubscribe if you don't.  That actually makes a lot of sense to me with or without GDPR as I never want to send anybody anything that that will just clutter up their inbox :)  

I've sent out an email to everyone on my mailing list to ask you to update your profile and I'm obliged to delete anybody off my list who's not responded by 25 May - sometimes this email goes into spam folders so if you think you've not received it, please could you check your spam/junk folder just to make sure that it's not in there.  

Not your usual kind of blog post from me, but an important one.  Normal service will be resumed very shortly :) 

Update - 10.05.18 : Don't worry if you didn't get an email, it could be that your update email comes from Feedburner which is a different mailing list so you won't have got one as the email I sent came from Mailchimp.  Wherever your email comes from, you can still update your preferences by clicking either the "update preferences" or "unsubscribe" links at the bottom of the emails so you can still be up to date :)

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Winwick Mum 3rd birthday giveaway results

Wow wow wow!

Thank you so much for all of your comments and birthday wishes on the Sockalong's birthday on Thursday!  Thank you, too, for taking the time to tell me more than just the number of pairs of socks you've knitted - I absolutely loved reading all the comments and it gave me a real feel for how knitting socks is just part of life for so many people - I think we have to feel sorry for those who haven't cottoned (or yarned) on yet! :)

Well now, on to the reason that we're all here - the giveaway results!  Let me remind you of the two prizes that were in the birthday giveaway this year:

Both have a signed copy of Super Socks and an enamel Winwick Mum Sockalong badge.  There's a ball of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in each too, a set of stitch markers and either a spinning yarn holder or an 80cm circular needle.  Whether you're a beginner or an experienced knitter, you should be able to make good use of all of this!

Before I tell you who's won, I'm going to tell you about the pairs of socks that were knitted this year ...