Saturday, 30 November 2019

The Woolist talk

"Where did you say you were going tonight?" my husband asked.  "You're going to the theatre without me?"

"I'm going to Theatr Clwyd in Wales to listen to a talk about sheep," I told him, for the umpteenth time.   I knew he hadn't been listening on any of the occasions that I'd told him about it - it really wouldn't be his idea of a fun evening!  Oh, but it certainly was mine! 😀

It was mid-September and Anne of the Yarn O'Clock yarn shop in Mold had arranged an evening's talk and workshop with Zoe Fletcher.  Known as The Woolist, Zoe has recently been awarded a Doctorate for a practical, research-based project which involved collecting information on the 72 - yes, you read that right - 72! - pure breeds of British sheep.  Or, as Zoe says, she's now a Doctor of Wool!

Herdwick sheep
Herdwick sheep - my favourites!  Source:

Friday, 29 November 2019

Monthly Musing - November 2019 - Being thankful

Thanksgiving isn’t something that we celebrate here in the UK, although there is a part of me that wonders if we should - the sentiment, that is, not the logistics of a practice run for Christmas just four weeks before the day itself – that sounds like a lot of work!

We always have much to be grateful for, and it’s not lost on me that the event of being thankful hasn’t made its way across the pond to us whereas the day after – Black Friday – has.  I wonder what that says about us that we choose to take on a tradition of shopping rather than gratitude?  Of course, there are some people who will be very grateful for the discounts that they’ll get over the weekend and there are some big savings to be had, but I’m trying to appreciate what I already have more:

Friday, 22 November 2019

Autumn days

It's Friday again ... time trots on, doesn't it?  I'm really glad that you enjoyed reading my last post (the TAAT tutorial); thanks for all your comments on the blog and social media.  I'll look forward to hearing how you get on with knitting them!

Small daughter is delighting in telling me how many weeks it is until Christmas (not enough), and I am blasted with a medley of Christmas hits in the kitchen every morning until she goes to school.  No, I am not currently hanging my stocking on the wall, snow is not falling all round me and I am not driving home for Christmas.  It's only November!  I am trying not to be too bah humbug about it as she is beyond excited already (oh dear!), but I don't want my life to be rushed towards the end of the year any faster than it's managing to do quite successfully on it's own! 😀

Instead, I am trying to appreciate the Autumn colours when I'm out with the dog.  I keep admiring how marvellous they are this year, and can't quite remember if I thought the same thing last year or not - I should really go back and read some of my blog posts!

We're not seeing much in the way of late Autumn sunshine and the leaves are quite soggy underfoot, especially on this path, but it is lovely to walk through a carpet of them, even if they are a bit of a soggy carpet!

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Two at a Time (TAAT) socks - free tutorial

I've been asked many times about knitting "two at a time" socks - that is, both socks of a pair knitted on one needle at the same time - and I've finally put together a tutorial and an accompanying video to show you how I do it with the cuff-down Sockalong sock pattern.  This tutorial is long and picture heavy, so do be warned!

Is there a reason why you'd want to knit both socks at once?

Well, if you're matching the yarns then it's a good way to make sure that both socks are the same, and for that matter it also means that you don't need to count rounds in quite the same way as both socks will be the same size.  You turn both heels at the same time and you work the foot to the same length, and whatever your views about the Kitchener stitch, you've got two socks to work on and then - ta dah! - your pair is ready to wear.  It's the ideal solution to Second Sock Syndrome (that "ugh" feeling when you've knitted one and you really don't want to cast on the second which afflicts some people) and apart from the fact that you can't actually knit two socks in the same time that you can knit one (oh believe me, I've tried! 😀), there's nothing bad to say about it.  If nothing else, it's another technique to try and for that reason alone, I'd recommend that you give it a go.  It never hurts to add another string to your sock-knitting bow!

I'm going to use this technique to knit a pair of child's socks; it's exactly the same pattern as I'd use for an adult pair but smaller (obviously), and it's really easy to adapt the Sockalong pattern to any size so you can knit for anyone you choose to.  I've added the notes for the children's socks that I've made to the bottom of this tutorial.

This tutorial is to help you knit two socks at one time on one circular needle using magic loop - it sounds very complicated but it really isn't, and once you've got the hang of it, I'm sure you'll be knitting your socks in pairs on a regular basis!

The tutorial is based on my top down Basic 4ply Socks pattern and if you haven't already got a copy of that, you can download it here.  The video to go along with this tutorial is on YouTube here and you can use both the photos and the video to help you if you need to.

Right, are you ready to get started?  Here we go! 😀

Saturday, 9 November 2019


Well, we survived the first week back at school!  It seems like ages ago since Monday when small daughter started back after the school holidays; she and my husband have had bad colds, big daughter has been mulling over the idea of a Master's Degree (Wednesday saw the pair of us at the University of Manchester open day to check out the options), and I have been reaping the rewards of my procrastination skills ... or not!

Our green waste collection is every other week and I've known all week that our bins needed to be full.  So what have I done?  Everything except get out into the garden!  In fairness, the weather has been against me and it was particularly bad on Thursday when the dog and I ventured out in the wet to the Lyme and Wood Pits Country Park.

I should have known it was going to be a wet walk from the moment we drove into the car park ...

Monday, 4 November 2019

After half term

This year's October half term school holiday seems to have passed us by in a flash!  It's Monday again and small daughter is back at school (much to her disgust).  We've gone past the age now where she wants to go for days out over the school holidays, preferring instead to have long lie ins, chat to her friends in endless video calls and then chat some more on sleepover nights (ha!  Why are they called "sleepovers"?  There's never any sleeping going on in our house!).  

I did manage to get her out and about a bit, though.  We went for a couple of walks with the dog which always followed the same pattern: grumbling about having to go out, grumbling on the way to wherever we were going, dragging her feet for the first ten minutes, and finally having a good time being outside.  Luckily, I've been here before and I know that (hopefully) it's just a phase!

We've seen plenty of conkers this year, but I've also seen plenty of squirrels hoarding them too, so I've persuaded small daughter that we should leave them for the squirrels and not bring them home as a spider deterrent.  We have loads of spiders in our house - the downside of living near the fields, I suppose - and they don't seem to be deterred in the least by the bucketloads of conkers we've had decorating the windowsills for what feels like forever, so it's better that they are a food supply.  I do love conkers, though; those shiny brown nuts that fit so perfectly inside their spiky casings.  There's something very tactile about them, isn't there (the conkers, that is, not the cases!), and I may have had just one in my pocket for the last couple of weeks.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

A Woolly Community - Visit to Wool N Stuff, Wakefield

Thank you so much for all your comments and conversations after my last Monthly Musing post about communication and loneliness.  I never expected that it would touch such a chord with so many people, but I'm glad that it has started conversations and, by chance, it fits perfectly with today's blog post.

Back at the beginning of October, I travelled up to Wakefield to spend the day at Wool N Stuff.  It's always great to see the spaces that yarn shops occupy and this one is a little different from the usual as it used to be a nightclub!  This explains why there's no shop window, although you certainly can't miss the pink exterior ... or the yarn ball Christmas tree!

Yes, that really is a Christmas tree made from lots and lots of balls of yarn - now that's something that lots of us would like to see on Christmas morning!  😀  And can you see something else in the back of the picture that looks interesting?  Come and have a look!

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