First steps

Hello!  It’s lovely to see you and thank you so much for all your comments on my New Year post – it was a bit of fun as we take our first steps into 2019, and see what the year has in store for us, and your comments really made me smile. 😀

So far, it’s a quiet start.  The girls don’t go back to school and uni until next week and even my husband has a rare few days off work.  I’ve been getting up earlier than everybody else to have some quiet minutes with my knitting and a brew (it’s not always so easy to have quiet minutes once everyone’s up, is it?) and I’ve really appreciated these slow mornings.  It’s a family tradition that my brother buys me The Broons or Oor Wullie annual every year; they always used to be published biannually although now they are both published every year but we’ve stuck to our tradition.  And if you can’t eat chocolate for breakfast over the Christmas and New Year period, then when else?!

As far as planning for 2019 goes, there’s not been a great deal of that going on.  I don’t have a word of the year (unless “chocolate” counts?), and whilst there are things that I intend to do this year, I don’t have them written down as five-year, one-year or ten minute goals to be “smashed”, “slayed” or “blasted” as seem to be the popular terms where goals are concerned.  I don’t even have any plans to use a planner this year as I have finally come to terms with the fact that they are a wonderful excuse for procrastination for me, so I’m going to stick with my calendar and a to-do list and see how I get on with that.  I might write my to-do list in the book that I started bullet journaling in to use up the paper, but I think that’s about as good as it’s going to get.  In fact, reading this back, you’d think I was just going to stay in bed all year!

As tempting as that might sound, it’s not part of this year’s plan.  Ha!  So there is a plan, you say!  Well, yes.  Sort of.  A new loaf of bread to start off the mornings …

I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying baking these sourdough loaves!  My starter doesn’t have a name, I couldn’t hold a conversation with you about hydration levels and my attempts at scoring are in no way any competition to loaves like these …

Source: @schwartzmitzucker (Instagram)

Source: @zoe.zhuhui (Instagram)

but it tastes so good, especially when it’s still warm out of the oven and it’s slathered with far too much butter.  Even the next day, the toast that it makes is just the best toast and I think learning how to do this to produce a consistently edible loaf is up with with my proud moments of last year.

There’s something about fresh bread that feels very primal to me, something that’s both nurturing and creative at the same time; I can’t quite explain it but you might know how I feel.  I got right out of baking last year and the sourdough has reminded me how much I miss it, so that’s something that I want to bring back to our family.  There’s likely to be lots of cake involved in that, but that’s OK because I like cake 😀

The seed catalogue has arrived and I do very much intend to get to grips with my garden this year.  I’ve not spent enough time in it over recent years and whilst it’s looked OK, I know that it could look better and I want to try to do that this year.  Big daughter has been eyeing up the raised vegetable beds and is keen to try her hand at growing veg – at the moment, her ambitions are bigger than the space to grow in but this is how we learn.  I bet all of us have planted the whole packet of 200 seeds of something or other, not expecting to get 200 plants but learning very quickly how to cope with them when we did!

Oh, I do need to show you these, though …

These ‘ere sprouts came from our garden!  Oh, I can’t tell you how pleased I was to see these little green balls on the stalk!  I’ve been saving them to have for dinner on New Year’s Day and they were the best sprouts we’d eaten all year (😉).  These were sowed from the last of my Dad’s seeds and I thought I’d lost them last year when it was so hot and everything dried out, but somehow two stalks of sprouts survived and we’re going to be eating them over the next week or so.  We had frost this morning which makes them taste even better so it’s definitely something to look forward to.  Sadly, too many people have been put off eating sprouts by being given over-cooked, tasteless blobs in school dinners or at other events, but if you can ever grow your own or buy locally-grown ones that aren’t one of the standard commercial varieties (great for productivity, not so great for taste) then I’d urge you to try them again.  But don’t over-cook them.  They’re not great when they’re over-cooked.

What else?  World sock domination is still there on the list; I’d love to see knitters in every waiting room and on every form of public transport in the world, reducing their blood pressure and using their waiting and travelling time in a positive way.  I’d love to see politicians, celebrities and sports people picking up their needles during tense moments to help them focus better and remain calm.  Heck, I’d even love to see a knitter on the International Space Station – one of the astronauts there recently was a quilter, why not a knitter next?  Knitting on circular needles, nothing to drop – you know what I’m saying, NASA! 😉  Socks can be knitted in such fabulous yarns and become such a personal statement of yourself that it seems to me that they should be a staple of everyone’s wardrobe.  (Did I ever plan to become such a hand-knitted sock bore advocate?  Nope, it just happened.)

I’ve got some fabulous yarns lined up to knit this year, and I’m really excited about showing them to you as the weeks go by.  There are definitely plans afoot with yarn this year but these goals are intended to be squished, smooshed and knitted which sounds far more appealing to me.  I might even write some of them down on my to-do list.  

And what about you?  Do you have goals, resolutions, intentions and plans?  If they’re to do with learning to knit socks, I can help you out there, but hopefully without any smashing involved! 😉 

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33 Responses

  1. Susan Rayner says:

    I love your plans – or "not-plans" Apart from To do lists and a calendar it is how my life works out ever since I retired (a long time ago). I look forward to seeing lots of pictures of your garden – always inspiring and some dog walks too please! I have too many knitting projects stashed – three jumpers/big cardigans, a baby blanket and more sock wool than any one person should own!! So there's my year! First ever without a dog in the house! Sad but we need to have some us-time as the past five years with our much loved dog were challenging at best. So here's to some day trips, maybe even a wool festival somewhere and some weekends away! Happy New Year!!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      It'll be a strange year without your dog but I'm sure you'll find a new "normal" – or find a new dog! Hope you manage to get through your WIPs – that sounds like a lot of work! xx

  2. Christina says:

    No goals, no resolution except maybe staying in bed all year and do whatever takes my fancy 🙂
    Your sourdough bread looks delicious! My son has a starter that produces quite good bread but he has neglected it a bit lately. Giving up the planner will be very refreshing. I haven't used one for years and have remembered most appointments and special dates. I remember spending so much time with the planner, even adding stuff after the event! Wishing you all the best for this year x

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I've learnt that you can revive a starter quite easily so it may be that your son's can get over it's neglect and be producing loaves again quite quickly. So far, I'm not missing the planner at all so long may it continue! xx

  3. Tiffany says:

    I love your updates! They are simultaneously enjoyably ordinary and so fun. I must find somewhere to learn to make sourdough bread this year – I eat it, almost exclusively, but I've never made it myself and yours look so delicious 🙂

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I've made sourdough bread before, several years ago, but coming back to it this time was much easier. There are lots of really helpful websites now (Hobbs House Bakery and Kitchn are two), and I did the online course from Gartur Stitch Farm which made it all make sense. Plus, it's so much cheaper to make it yourself! xx

  4. diana says:

    Oh I enjoy your posts!!!!!! Happy New Year.

  5. Julie says:

    Wooohooo …… homegrown sprouts, harvested some ourselves today from the community garden project. My daughter once asked why there wasn't such a thing as sprout pies like mince pies at Christmas LOL.
    No plans here, relaxed and fun knitting and sewing.
    Happy 2019

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Sprout pies … now that'd be a thing! It just shows, though, that children who are given properly cooked tasty sprouts consider them quite differently to those who are only fed green tasteless mush. It's such a shame! xx

  6. Lenore says:

    I really had to think about my goals this year and on top of the list is to complete my UFO’s that I started on my ‘yarny adventure’ with Nola last year and to knit/crotchet/sew the suitcase of yarn and fabric I bought during our trip. Nola and I had to buy two extra suitcases. I wonder why I bought mine in Skipton, I think I can blame Yarndale for that purchase, but it was so worth it. X

    • Winwick Mum says:

      TWO extra suitcases?! You'll never need to buy yarn again! Joking aside, if it's something that you love to do and you can't buy what you've got locally, then it makes sense to stock up whilst you can, plus it's all a great reminder of your fabulous trip! xx

  7. selina says:

    no new year resolutions here, gave that practice up years ago lol
    i do want to relearn how to bake & cook from scratch again though
    have lots of WiP to get sorted & also a few UFOs as well as many socks I would like to knit too!
    thanx for sharing

  8. Ali says:

    I loved reading this, which I did whilst enjoying my own early morning cuppa and indulgent browse through blogland. Last year I learned to knit socks and thanks to you have gained confidence in using the short circular method. Looking at that gorgeous sourdough loaf I'm definitely going to make baking a big part of my new year! Thank you for 'keeping it real' with your writing, much appreciated. Ali Allen x

    • Winwick Mum says:

      That's brilliant to hear, short circulars are the best as far as I'm concerned! Yes, I think it'll be easy to incorporate more baking into the year, I hope you find that too! xx

  9. Pam says:

    I am a sock knitter, any time I have to wait there is always a sock in my bag. This year i plan on trying at least one pair in colour work.

  10. happyneedles says:

    You are such an inspiration … thank you.

  11. jackiescrafts says:

    I’d love to learn to knit socks this year, I’m a reasonably competent knitter but socks are something I’ve never tried. I think it’s the thought of the dpns but if I understand correctly you can use a circular needle for the most part. Mmmm I really must have a try.
    I’m enjoying your blog since I found it fairly recently.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Yes, you can use circulars if you'd prefer to knit socks with – have a look at the needles tutorial in the Sockalong tutorials (purple picture at the top right of the page) and see what you think 🙂 xx

  12. Lesley Leighton says:

    Happy New Year Christine, I really enjoy reading your blog

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Christine for the reminder about Oor Wullie and The Broons. It brings back happy memories of my granny who used to get a Scottish paper every weekend even though she'd lived in Cheshire for years. Can't remember the name of the paper but Oor Wullie and The Broons were in it. I've got a couple of annuals but didn't realise they still produced them – could that be part of a plan, to seek a few more out? Best wishes for the New Year. Ann S.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      The paper is The Sunday Post and it's still going strong, complete with both Oor Wullie and The Broons. I don't think you'll have any trouble tracking it, or more annuals, down! xx

  14. Attic24 says:

    A planner (well my planner at least) is a place where a calendar and a to-do list can come together in harmony – just saying – they keep everything in one place. And no need to smash anything with it either, it can be a gentle and docile process xx ps lovely lovely post #plansafoot #sproutsareawesome

    • Winwick Mum says:

      In theory, the planner that I had was supposed to do that but it just wasn't doing the job (or perhaps I just wasn't doing the job!) so it's had to go for now. I may well be back to it in six months' time! 🙂 xx

  15. Morag says:

    Loved that as a sock knitter and designer you have "plans afoot"! I hope you and your family have a great year growing socks and vegetables.

  16. Unknown says:

    I really love your idea of world domination by sock knitting. I also feel that the world would be a much better place if we all picked up some yarn and needles!

  17. Susie says:

    I'm totally thrilled at the prospect of Sock World Domination and spotted a fellow sock knitter in far away Cuba back in 2016! Also very enthousiastic at the prospect of men learning to knit. How much more peaceful a world it would be! I saw a young man knitting socks in the street in Droitwich a year or so ago, and my own son recently asked me to teach him the basics. He has a stressful job as a social worker and I think it helps him to unwind. He started on a scarf which looks a little odd as the number of stitches is a little inconsistent but he's sticking with it. I taught him travelling by bus from Oxford to London, a journey I do weekly to see my grandson, knitting socks every step of the way and my son has recently compared knitting with another young man travelling by train up to Liverpool, so maybe word is spreading. I learnt to knit socks with your wonderful online simple sock pattern about 2 years ago am now a self-confessed addict with around 12 pairs under my belt.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      That's wonderful to hear! It'll take some work but when we can get past the view that knitting is only for a certain section of society then it'll be another tool in the armoury of everyone who needs to be able to switch off and de-stress whenever they can. 12 pairs of socks is brilliant! They're such portable projects, aren't they? I bet you get plenty done on the bus! xx

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