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Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Bing bong ...

Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please.  Thank you for flying with Winwick Mum on flight 2019; we shall shortly be beginning our descent into the end of the year and hope that you have had a pleasant flight.

As promised, our flight has taken us past socks, no-nylon yarns, the vegetable patch, overgrown flower borders that are slowly starting to be tamed, free patterns which I love to share on the blog, more socks, some other knitting projects, more socks, walks with the dog and some unexpected detours, because that's the fun of the journey.  

It has been particularly thrilling to fly through a brand new range ... of sock yarn ... and your welcome of the Winwick Mum Collection of West Yorkshire Spinners yarn has been so very much appreciated.  I hope to have this route included in the Winwick Mum flight schedule for many years to come!  

No flight is without turbulence and I hope that any you have experienced has been short-lived and that you have not required the use of the oxygen masks.  Passengers may keep hold of any blankets or other projects that have provided joy, calm, security and well-being during the year as more projects will be made by the passengers of the next flight.

Friday, 27 December 2019

No-nylon sock yarn review: West Yorkshire Spinners Colour Lab DK

As we're fast approaching the end of the year, I wanted to tell you about one last pair of no-nylon socks that I knitted to try out.

The yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Colour Lab DK which was launched earlier this year to offer a 100% wool alternative to their nylon-containing Aire Valley DK which has now been discontinued.  

A photo of a pair of feet wearing hand knitted socks taken from above with the sides of the feet showing.  The sock yarn is stripes of yellow, maroon, dark blue, light blue and green.  The background is a wooden floor

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 - 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!) 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˜€ 

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Christmas Eve

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas full of joy, peace, love and happiness.  And if you don't celebrate Christmas, there's still no reason not to wish you joy, peace, love and happiness.  It makes the world go round, you know :)

Be safe, wherever you are xx

Saturday, 21 December 2019

A woolly wonderland - Visit to Yarn Etc, Harrogate

A couple of Saturdays ago, I got up early and headed to the train station - destination Harrogate.  I haven't been to Harrogate for a long long time, so when I met up with Fiona who owns Yarn Etc earlier this year and she invited me to visit, I was keen to go - not least because I've heard such good things about her yarn shop!

I love this photo, I think the shop looks so cosy and welcoming - and it really is!

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Exciting things!

Hellooo!  How are you doing?  Thank you for all your comments on my last post about the Yarndale Sock Line socks - all the socks are in their new homes now and are being very much appreciated!

Well, it's exactly a week to go until Christmas if you celebrate it, and you're either very organised and enjoying the run up, or you're (like me) very glad that it's not Christmas Day tomorrow!  I am nearly ready, though, and I'm very pleased to tell you after this month's Monthly Musing that all my Christmas cards are sent and I've been feeling very festive this week!  πŸ˜€

This is such a busy time of year for us all (and especially if you're in the US and you've had Thanksgiving to organise recently as well!) and I am quite sure that you'll be hoping for a few quiet days to put your feet up once the festivities are over!  

So ... I've got a couple of exciting things to tell you about both for now and to look forward to in January (in the new decade, doesn't that sound like a whole new adventure?!) when we have all got our breath back.

Here's the first of them ...

A photo of a small oak occasional table.  On the table to the left and in the foreground is a booklet of sock patterns called Socks Made Simple.  To the right is a small saucer decorated with circles of green, blue, red and turquoise with two shortbread fingers sitting on it.  At the top of the picture is an orange Herdy mug of tea

Well, would you look at that!  

I'm really thrilled to have more patterns published in a magazine this month.  These ones come in an exclusive booklet with issue 111 of Knit Now which is out in the shops today.  There are four patterns which use my WYS Signature 4ply Brightside and Seascape yarns, along with Bubblegum, which I think contrasts beautifully well!   

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Yarndale Sock Line Roundup 2019

With just a week or so to go before Christmas, now feels like the perfect time to tell you what happened to the Yarndale Sock Line socks that were donated this year.  I've been delaying sending them out over the last couple of years because the organisations I've sent them to have told me that they'll be given as Christmas gifts, or when the weather is particularly bad, so it has seemed easier to keep them here in one bag rather than have them cluttering up cupboards or offices before they're needed.

So, back to the beginning of the story ...

At the end of June this year, I sent out the Yarndale Sock Line request - this is the 5th year that I've done that, isn't that incredible?  If you're new to the blog and the Yarndale Sock Line, you might want to take a quick look at the post which is here, and tells you what it's all about.

Every year I say this (and every year it's true) - that I wonder whether people will have the time, the energy, the spare cash to find to buy yarn to make a pair of socks to give away, and every year I am blown away by the generosity of you all.

"I've got a few pairs of socks for you to pick up," said Lucy, when I was on my way up to Skipton to see her.  That's fair enough, I thought.  Things are tough for lots of people this year and even a few pairs is a generous gift.

This is what I collected ...

Two grey Royal Mail bags full of sock parcels sitting on a wooden floor next to grey carpeted stairs and leaning against a decorative brick internal wall

Those "few pairs" turned out to be more than just a few!  Wow!  So many socks were coming in, with more arriving every day.  Small daughter (she's my Yarndale Sock Line buddy!) and I made a start on unpacking them, and just as in every year before, it's an absolute joy to see the socks come out of the parcels - big socks, small socks, bright socks, dark socks, patterned socks, plain socks ... each one of them has been knitted with the intention of sending a gift of woolly love to someone and you can tell.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Monthly Musing - December 2019 - Counting Christmases

It’s a rainy Friday afternoon not long before Christmas and I’m feeling quite grumpy about the whole thing.  There are cards to write, presents to wrap, presents to buy, food to organise … and that’s on top of everything else that doesn’t stop just because it’s Christmas.  I look at small daughter, bursting with the agony of waiting another couple of weeks until Christmas Day and wonder where my sense of excitement and anticipation has gone.

I know that I didn’t always feel like this.  I know that Christmas never used to feel like something else to squeeze into an already hectic calendar.  I also know that Christmas always happens on the same day every year and if I was just a bit more organised, I could have done everything earlier.  After all, it’s not a surprise that Christmas is coming!

And that’s it, isn’t it?  Christmas comes every year.  Just one day in a short holiday period and then it’s gone.  Once the wrapping paper is recycled and the decorations are down, that’s it for another year.  Less than 365 days to wait before the next Christmas Day – and who knows what will happen in that time?  

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