Sunday, 26 May 2019

Calcite Socks - free pattern and tutorial

It's a long Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK and what better time to cast on a new pair of socks?

Calcite socks, free pattern at Winwick Mum blog

This pair was designed for the new leaf yarns Alpaca/Bluefaced Leicester/Teeswater 4ply no-nylon blend that I reviewed in my last post - I didn't want to knit plain socks and was feeling the need for some simple cables.  Oh, I do love a cable!  

They're called Calcite, named after the mineral that is found abundantly all over the world.  Although colourless when pure, Calcite can be found in many hues and it also possesses the unusual feature of always breaking into the same shape when the stone is cut.  These rose-grey socks are certainly not colourless and when you look closely, are subtle shades of the undyed fleece of Nicky the alpaca and the sheep which were blended into this yarn.  The cable shapes aren't quite the same rhomboid shape that is a feature of cut Calcite, but they are regular in shape and surely a bit of artistic license is allowed? πŸ˜€

Sunday, 19 May 2019

No-nylon sock yarn review - New Leaf Yarns Alpaca blend 4ply

It's been a long time since I wrote a no-nylon sock yarn review and I am VERY late in reviewing this yarn from new leaf yarns (I bought and knitted it back in 2017 but fortunately it's still available!).  

I decided that I wanted to create my own pattern for this yarn, and these are my Calcite socks - I'll be sharing the pattern another day for these easily-knitted cabled socks.

Calcite Socks, free pattern at Winwick Mum blog

Before I start the review, there are a couple of things that you need to know:
  • I used to be really tough on my no-nylon socks because I felt that they should be able to stand up to the rigours of being worn as well as socks containing nylon.  My view on this has changed now - my belief now is that no-nylon yarns have their own qualities which make them different from commercially-produced yarns and to try to compare them as the same thing doesn't work.  I have learnt that no-nylon socks just don't last as long as ones with nylon in (on my feet anyway - I have pokey toes, see below) but the pleasure of knitting and wearing them is different to other yarns and they should be appreciated for that.  
  • I still expect no-nylon sock yarns to be good value for money - after all, it's no good saying a yarn is suitable for socks if it wears through after one outing! 
  • Being tough with my socks means that they'll get worn for a few days at a time; there's less need to wash natural fibre socks anyway even though we're in the habit of wearing our socks once and then washing them - you don't see sheep showering all the time, do you? πŸ˜€It also means they'll be worn in boots on long dog walks whatever the weather and will probably go into the washing machine because that's how most people choose to wash their socks - although painful experience has taught me that the dial goes no higher than a 30 degree hand wash!  (No point in experimenting unless you learn something, eh? πŸ˜€ )
  • I've got pokey toes so unless I reinforce the toes of my socks, there's a good chance that I'm going to go through them faster than many other people - this isn't always helpful in a yarn trial but on the plus side, I can test that aspect out more quickly! πŸ˜€ 

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Monthly Musing - May 2019 - Words

“This is how I have heard what you’ve just said, did you mean it to sound like that?”

One of the conversations that we have had more than once with both our girls as they have been (and still are) negotiating teenage social conversations is to think about how their words are heard by someone else.  This might sound like an odd conversation to have with your teenage daughter, but it’s one that we’ve felt has been important over the years; a variation of “think before you speak”.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Looking back

Well hello to you!  It feels like an inordinately long time since I wrote a post about everyday stuff instead of about yarn or giveaways, so I thought that today I'd do a quick catch up post.

When I came to upload all the photos that I've been storing on my phone from the last couple of weeks, there were tons of them - but you'll be pleased to know that I'm not going to make you look at them all!   I was quite surprised by just how many there were, but it's been a nice reminder for me that there have been moments worth photographing instead of just having my head down and getting on with stuff!

πŸ’š In the garden

Marigolds (Calendula officinalis) have been in bud for a long time and they're all opening now that we've got a bit of sunshine.  Oh, I do love their sunny faces!  I usually have orange ones in the garden but for some reason these ones are yellow - quite probably a different variety as I will grow any marigold seeds I can get my hands on!

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Winwick Mum Sockalong 4th birthday giveaway results

Well, here I am with the results of another birthday giveaway!  Thank you so much for all your lovely comments and for letting me know how many pairs of socks you've knitted.  It's fantastic to see so many new sock knitters as well as those of you who are still using the Sockalong pattern for your socks.  I love that the pattern works so well for you!

So, onto the important part - who has won?  Firstly, let me remind you of this year's prizes.  There are two of them:

They both comprise of a signed copy of Super Socks, a large mug decorated with rabbits with tea, coffee and hot chocolate so that we can have a brew together whilst we're knitting, a bag of Cadbury's Nibbly Fingers (mmm, soooo good with a cup of tea!), a ball of your choice of the new Winwick Mum yarn colourways (I've shown Hidden Gem and Seascape here but it was up to you to choose) and a specially-made stitch marker by Indi of Front Pocket Studio to match the yarn that you chose.  Oh, and a Winwick Mum Sockalong badge too!  

Before I tell you the winners, though, I'm going to give you an update on the numbers of pairs of socks that have been knitted with the Sockalong basic sock pattern.  This is never going to be an accurate figure as not everybody who has used the pattern will be looking at the blog to add their numbers to the total, but it's a bit of fun for this birthday time of year.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Winwick Mum Sockalong 4th birthday

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

If you're new to the blog, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about and the fact is that four years ago today, I published the first of the Winwick Mum Sockalong tutorials to help beginners knit their own pair of socks, never once imagining what pressing that "publish" button on my blog would start.  

Nope, never ever did I imagine that I would be writing this post and that the Sockalong would have taken on the life that it has.  I never expected that tens of thousands of people would be in the Winwick Mum Sockalong Facebook group, learning and helping each other on a daily basis, or that they would still be chatting in the Knit n Natter Facebook group I certainly never expected that I would have written and published two books (Super Socks is the paperback version of the online tutorials and More Super Socks builds on those skills) or winning awards or that four years later, I would be seeing the Winwick Mum name on the ball bands of my favourite West Yorkshire Spinners 4ply yarn.  

Most of all, I never imagined that those Sockalong tutorials would still be helping so many people in so many countries to knit their first pair of socks four years on.  But oh my life, am I glad that they are!  It's truly amazing to be part of the sock revolution that seems to be sweeping the world now, to be cheering sock-knitting beginners on from the sidelines and to know that the words that were written in my little corner of the world here in Winwick have played such a part.  I love knowing that people are knitting socks for themselves, for others, to support their own health and because it's just a lovely thing to do.  
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