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 ...

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Winwick Mum Sockalong 3rd birthday

Happy birthday to you, 
Happy birthday to you, 
Happy birthday dear Sockalong, 
Happy birthday to you!

I'm absolutely thrilled to be writing this on the Sockalong's 3rd birthday.  Three whole years of the sock tutorials helping beginners to get that first pair of socks on their feet - that's definitely something to be celebrated, I would say!
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