Winter Haven KAL Week 2
It’s Week 2 of the Winter Haven KAL – and how has your week been?
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing so many posts on Facebook and Instagram (you can find them using the hashtag #WinterHavenKAL – don’t forget to add yours!) and what’s been really lovely is that so many people are joining in who thought they didn’t have time to take part in a KAL.
I’ll be honest with you – I’ve often thought the same myself, which is why this KAL is very flexible: pick your own pattern, pick your own yarn (although thank you to everyone who’s been using Winwick Mum yarn, it’s made me very happy to see it!), and join in by taking a few moments for yourself. If you’re new to the KAL, it started last Friday and the last post will be on Friday 31 January so there’s still time to find yourself a cosy space, pick up a WIP or start a new project, and join in. The first post which tells you all about the KAL and how it works is here.
This week, I’m going to talk a bit about what I’ve been doing, but I’m also going to show you what others have been doing as well – I love that we are all being part of this KAL together!
🕯 My space
I’ve found it interesting that having created a specific Winter Haven space for myself, that I’ve been much more inclined to make time to go and sit in it. It might not be for long, but I’ve been telling myself that it’s OK to sit in my Haven for a short while as I drink my tea, or have a quick break. I am very good at working every moment and forgetting to stop and take a rest, but somehow, having a Haven to sit in has made me do that this week. Have you found that?
I’ve been using it in the daylight …
and also when it’s darker. I’ve thoroughly appreciated taking a break more often!
(Yes, that is the same mug in both photos, and no, it’s not my Herdy mug in disguise! Herdy is having a rest today whilst I try out this gift from my brother and sister-in-law; it’s a colour-changing mug, but obviously tea is hotter than hot chocolate!)
Talking to people on social media, I’ve found that for some people, their Haven space has worked best as a moveable space. Some people have gone out to a cafe or library because they have needed to be away from what’s going on at home – anyone who has been a carer or a parent of small children can relate to that one! – and it’s been lovely to know that the Winter Haven KAL has been the prompt for all of us to be more thoughtful about our time and to make sure that we do get a break.
Would you like to have a look at some Haven spaces? I’m very nosey and I’ve LOVED seeing how people are all set up to spend their cosy time! 😀
Janice is all set up with her copy of the Sanctuary Socks pattern and, if I’m not mistaken, Seascape yarn to knit them with. And a dark chocolate Kit Kat … I haven’t tried one of those, I must add them to my shopping list!
|Source: Janice via Facebook|
Catherine has her favourite tea bags and a fabulous mug – she’s colour co-ordinating with her mug, her notebook and her yarn!
|Source: Catherine via Facebook|
Kathryn has all of her treats laid out too …
|Source: @katybadmum on Instagram|
Jeanette’s talented daughter painted the portrait on the wall in Jeanette’s cosy space …
|Source: Jeanette via Facebook|
and just how cosy do we want to get?! Laurie lives in this cabin in the woods, surrounded by wildlife and nature (and snow!!!) – I think we can imagine how cosy she will be in there! …
|Source: Laurie via Facebook|
Tsai lives on a narrowboat – now that looks super-cosy with her logburner going as well!
|Source: Tsai via Facebook|
How have you been getting on with your projects?
I’ve been doing pretty well with my hat this week …
I’ve finished the rib now and I’m onto the main hat section which is just plain knitting – it’s like knitting a giant sock! I’m switching between Continental and English knitting mostly because I can, and luckily you can’t tell when you look at the stitches, but also because I’ve noticed that my Continental stitches can get a bit loose after a while which I’m assuming is a newbie problem that will correct itself eventually. If I knit a couple of rounds in my usual style, it’s all good again and I can switch hands if I want to.
I’ve just started on the heel flap of my sock so there’s been progress on that too. I’m not quite sure what I’d been doing but I’d knitted about 1.5 extra inches of leg so I had to take all of that out (I could have left it, I suppose, but I like my socks the size they usually are!) – definitely a moment of thoughtful concentration!
Out in the big wide world, other projects have been coming along nicely too, including a lovely selection of Sanctuary Socks on needles everywhere! (Want a copy of the pattern? Find it on the tutorial here.)
Jo is knitting a pair in Winwick Mum Seascape …
|Source: @mimijo5 on Instagram|
Gail is knitting her pair in what I’m pretty certain is WYS Signature 4ply in Blackcurrant Bombe …
|Source: @floralchickenart on Instagram|
Nicky has made good progress on her sock too!
Victoria has chosen this beautiful red shade – the cables are showing up so well!
|Source: Victoria via Facebook|
Jo has finished her first sock already … it looks lovely in Winwick Mum Wildflower!
|Source: Jo via Facebook|
Mandy has finished her first sock too, and really pushed herself out of her comfort zone to make this so she’s really proud of herself and so she should be!
|Source: Mandy via Facebook|
I’ve been thrilled to see so many pairs of Sanctuary Socks being started, and thank you to everyone who has told me that you’re enjoying knitting the pattern too! It’s very easy to memorise after the first repeat (although marking off your rounds is recommended!) which makes it fairly suitable for TV knitting – though not if you’re watching a scary movie or something with subtitles!
There are more socks on the needles …
Ann has started a pair of Ryegrass Socks from the Knit Now supplement I wrote about here ….
|Source: Anna via Facebook|
Hafsa is knitting the Boxy Rib Socks from the same supplement with a jolly red contrast cuff …
|Source: Hafsa via Facebook|
Lynne is knitting the same pattern but using Winwick Mum Seascape …
|Source: @the_woolnest on Instagram|
Jayne is knitting this pretty pattern from an old magazine she found with Winwick Mum Hidden Gem – I think it’s going to look lovely in those purples!
|Source: Jayne via Facebook|
There’s another finished off sock here – this is Anna’s first of her pair. The pattern is Impossible Girl Socks by Madeline Gannon and her lovely yarn is from Louley Yarn.
|Source: @stitchcraft_and_wizardry on Instagram|
I’ve shown you a lot of socks this week, but don’t forget that this KAL isn’t just about knitting socks but is about knitting whatever makes your heart sing – or whatever will make you feel good because you are finishing it off. More project photos to come next week!
🕯 This week’s recipe
I thought I’d bake some biscuits this week. I haven’t bought any biscuits since before Christmas and nobody seems to have missed them (still too busy finishing off Christmas cake and mince pies – I’m sure they’re breeding in the cupboard!), but I decided it was time to fill up the biscuit tin again.
These are chocolate chip cookies from a recipe by Jane at Cakes, Bakes and Simple Suppers. I’ve made them before and these are another treat that doesn’t last long in our house! They’ve got golden syrup in them which gives them a different flavour to other chocolate chip cookies that I’ve made, and they don’t have any egg in so if you swap out the butter for dairy-free spread, this recipe should be suitable for lactose intolerants or vegans too.
I’ve been doing all right at upping my fruit game this week too – I’ve been eating oranges and cherries instead of rooting through the fridge or the biscuit cupboard for an afternoon snack. The dog has been upping his fruit intake too by eating banana skins that he picks up at the roadside. There are more of them at the moment as obviously people are taking up running as a New Year’s resolution and must have a banana as a mid-run snack. I don’t know why they feel the need to throw their banana skins into the hedgerows, though, because the birds certainly don’t eat them …
On to your sweet treats … Sara tried out the Maple Syrup Flapjack recipe from last week’s post to go with her almost vanilla sock pattern …
|Source: @springintostitch on Instagram|
and there’s some cosy scarf knitting going on here underneath that mug …
|Source: @littleloopsknitandcrochet on Instagram|
I have had some conversations, as I expected, where sweet treats just aren’t the thing for you at the moment and that’s absolutely fine – your Haven is your space to treat yourself properly, so that means that you need to have whatever you need to eat as your treat!
🕯 Something green
How have you felt having something green in your Haven this week? I’ve really appreciated thinking consciously about having flowers or green leaves in the house – other than the house plants, that is, which tend to become part of the furniture after a while and you don’t really notice them. This week, I bought myself some daffodils; still buds when I bought them but it’s amazing how quickly those buds open!
🕯 Light it up!
Oh, I’m really loving the candle! I’ve been lighting it at every opportunity, even taking it with me if I’ve been going to sit and watch TV with my husband, and the smell makes me so very happy.
It was also a full moon last weekend; it was so bright in the early hours of the morning that I thought there was someone outside shining a light through our curtains! I’ve become much more aware of the moon lately and the phases as the month passes, even to the point that I’ve been reading up on lunar planting and how the passage of the moon affects us. I love that there is so much in our world that we can know about, and there is always something new to learn.
This beautiful moon photo was taken by Phil of The Twisted Yarn blog. If you’ve never visited her blog, you really need to go and take a look – not only is she a talented photographer, she’s also a talented designer, especially of colourwork. Now there’s a KAL project idea …!
|Source: Phil Saul|
🕯 Listen up!
What have you been listening to this week?
Thanks for your suggestions, it’s been really nice to be able to go and listen to them! I love this exchange of ideas, and the fact that it’s not just me shouting out into the world 😀. Spotify and YouTube are great for finding new musicians and this week I discovered Gavin Luke; I find this kind of piano music really easy to listen to even when I’m working and I’m very pleased to have found a new composer to add to my playlists.
Also this week: Howard Goodall (who wrote the music for the TV series The Vicar of Dibley) and Chris Rea, whose music always reminds of this time of the year – and not just because of that Christmas song! It could be the gravelly voice, or memories of a cosy pub in the village I grew up in which had one of his songs (and not that Christmas song!) on the juke box … I don’t know, but it gives me shivers down my spine and a smile on my face in equal measure! Oh, and Kate Rusby. I do like a Kate Rusby song (Underneath the Stars is my very favourite). And Clannad … do you know, I’ve had a wonderful time looking through our music collection to see what I can find that fits with how I want my Haven to be this week. I’m usually listening to music intended to motivate me into cleaning the floors or doing the ironing, but my Haven music is all about being calm – and I’ve loved it!
I’ve been much more thoughtful about my self-care this week, and that extra thought has turned into positive self-care action. I’ve been taking more breaks, sitting in my comfy chair by the fire – yes, I’ve been lighting it just so that I can sit next to it for a short while – and I even wallowed in a bubble bath this week too. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that just like the gratitude journal bringing more things to be grateful for into my life, the more I’ve tried to look after myself, the more opportunities I have had to do that. Have you found the same?
Now, remember last week I was saying that self-care isn’t just about pampering yourself but is also about making your general life easier for yourself? Well, my self-care recommendations for today are about money – it’s on my mind as it’s tax return deadline month in the UK and those who are self-employed have to submit their own tax returns and make sure the bill is paid on time. The accountant that we use through my husband’s business is rather insistent that tax returns are started early so ours were submitted a few months ago, but that hasn’t always been the case and I’ve found myself with hours to go before the deadline when I’ve been submitting it myself. That isn’t self-care!
It’s too late for this year if you’re going to be working till the last minute to get your return finished, but next year is a whole new ball game and I can’t tell you how good it feels not to be doing everything in a rush! And it is definitely a form of self-care to be on top of what is going on with your money, whether you’re saving or spending.
This week, I have been looking at my bank statements and credit card bills to make sure that I recognise all of the transactions on there. It’s very easy if you buy through PayPal or from Amazon or eBay to have transactions that look strange so it’s definitely worth checking. I’ve also been making sure that I don’t have any subscriptions that I’ve forgotten about; often there’s a cheap trial that becomes more expensive after the trial period has ended – companies rely on you forgetting about them so the money just disappears from your account. Another one is house and vehicle insurance – it’s always worth getting quotes rather than leaving them to auto-renew as you’re not always getting the best deal that way.
This is a useful website to take a look at – www.moneysavingexpert.com. Owned by Martin Lewis, whom you may have seen on TV and who champions the shopper and the saver, this site is for everybody who needs to know how money works. We found the student loansinformation invaluable when big daughter was going to university, I always check the travel money rates before buying, and every week there’s a free email full of useful information on savings, freebies, debt reduction, heating costs … you name it and it’s in there!
I said that I would put my book recommendation in this section too, and as it happens, this week’s title is also to do with money, or rather your own personal sense of worth (which is tied up with money). The book is Worthy by Nancy Levin, and it’s an excellent book to read if you are someone who feels that you would rather hide under the bed than face your financial situation, whatever it is. I was speaking to someone recently whose husband had suddenly been taken very ill, and as shocked as she was that he was ill, she was also shocked to realise that if he didn’t come home from the hospital, she would have no idea at all how to look after herself financially. She didn’t even know how much was in their joint bank account or where the house insurance policy was because “she had never needed to know”.
Self-care doesn’t have to be about being so independent that nobody else can take care of you, but it is about knowing where your bank statements are and how to read them. It’s about knowing about budgeting and that you can only spend your money once, as my Mum used to say. It’s about knowing that you are worth the money that you earn, and why you might even be worth a pay rise. If you’re hiding under the bed, it’s time to get out! 😀
🕯 Thank you
Have you been remembering to write in your notebook? It’s surprising just how many things we have to be grateful for when we’re making a point of writing them down! Did you think that as well this week?
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t write in your book every day – even if you only did it once (and if you haven’t done it at all, go and write something in it now, quick!) then you were still thinking about it, and that’s great!
This week, I’ve been grateful for …
Being able to spend time with big daughter …
We went to an astrology workshop together; a couple of hours out in Liverpool where we learnt how to read our birth charts and start to discover how we are best placed to serve the world based on how the planets were aligned when were were born. I know that there are lots of people who really don’t believe in this sort of thing, but I like the science behind it and I’m fascinated by the idea that what’s happening up in the sky can affect our lives down here.
There are lots of branches of astrology and Ange from Tribal Alchemy is more interested in how we can work with our energies rather than trying to predict the future. I like that: I think we can all shape our own destinies and having a helping hand from the cosmos is no bad thing – but one thing that both big daughter and I did learn is that astrology is like an onion with lots and lots of layers! It’s definitely something that I’m interested in reading more about and I suspect that, like most things, you never know it all!
It was lovely to spend time with big daughter, though; we’ve been to a couple of workshops like this together and we always have a great time.
I’ve also been grateful for my new colour-changing mug and have had fun playing with how hot the liquid has to be. My brother knows I’ve always loved unicorns, even way back in the days when you didn’t see many pictures of them around apart from maybe prints of medieval tapestries. I used to love going to the Athena poster shops(do you remember those?!) as they always had postcards with unicorns amongst their stock, and sometimes I’d find pictures in gaming shops that sold Dungeons and Dragons-type games. It’s much easier to find unicorns nowadays!
I was rather underwhelmed by the colour-changing properties at first …
and then I discovered that if I filled it with tea rather than hot chocolate, it was far more impressive!
Somebody else was also impressed with my mug and now small daughter has laid claim to it. I’m not surprised, really. Can anybody resist the magic of a colour changing unicorn mug?
I can’t fail to be grateful for Winter walks with the dog. These photos were taken at Culcheth Linear Park. Look how the trees arch over to make a tunnel for us to walk through!
And just half an hour later, the sun was going down and the skies were changing colour …
Thank you for being part of the KAL with me this week, I have so enjoyed having you be here with me! Don’t forget to keep tagging me into your posts so that I can have a nosey into your cosy spaces and see your projects – the hashtag is #WinterHavenKAL.
I hope you have a wonderful week in your Winter Haven – see you next Friday! xx