My Instagram Challenge Part 3

It’s Friday already – what a week it’s been!  More lockdown restrictions for many of us, no matter where in the world we are, and it’s not looking like we’re going to be going back to any kind of “normal” any time soon.  I hope you’re holding up, it’s a worrying time and I know that everybody’s anxiety levels are higher than they should normally be.

I’ve got two more weeks of Instagram photos to show you then we’re back to dog walks and what is or isn’t growing in the garden (spoiler alert – we may be eating kale for the rest of our lives!) so I’m hoping this is a welcome respite from “the usual” which has been rather more restricted lately!

Here’s week 3 …

Day 15 : Colour Inspiration

A green glass fishing float, a ball of blue Seascape yarn and two shells on a white background

Are you old enough to remember these glass fishing floats?

They were very fashionable in the 1970s and this one hung in our bathroom when I was small.  It hangs in our house now, and was part of the inspiration for my Seascape yarn, one of the four colours that I created with West Yorkshire Spinners in the Winwick Mum collection.

The collection was inspired by my blog, by the idea of looking for the extraordinary in the everyday, and this glass fishing float reminded me of childhood holidays in North Wales, of paddling with and without wellies (because that sea is blooming cold when the sun doesn’t shine!), of walking on unmarked beaches in the early morning, and being delighted to find the same sweeties in the newsagents year after year … you can read more about it if you’d like to here.

Colours can inspire us as much as an object or a memory, and just that shade of green reminds me of the sound of the seagulls and ropes clinking against boat masts, bringing with it a whole host of ideas that may or may not become something tangible in the future.

We never forget anything really, do we, and it’s lovely to know that all of our memories can come back to us in an instant, as much with a colour as anything else.

Day 16 : Shop Indie

Four skeins of multi-coloured yarn lined up together against a white background

Are you a hand-dyed yarn hoarder?

Oh, I try so hard not to be … but when you see the rainbows of skeins, it’s so hard to resist!

After talking about my stash the other day and saying that it really isn’t that big, I must confess that some of it is hand-dyed yarn that I can’t quite bring myself to break out of the skein.  I do feel guilty about that as knitting it up means it’s not being used as house insulation but is also an advertisement for the dyer – there’s no better way for them to get their products seen than for us to knit it and show it off – but I know that sometimes I’ve fallen in love with the colours in a skein and it’s just not looked the same when it’s become something else which has made me reluctant to do it!

I have reached a point in my life, though, when I have realised that I can’t go on “keeping things for best” for ever and just in case the worst should happen and I get run over by a bus, I should knit up my beautiful skeins so that I have the pleasure of using them rather than leaving them for my family to wonder what to do with them if I’m ever not around!  After all, it’s by using the yarns and buying more that we keep our talented indie dyers in business!

So, here are some of my skeins bought from talented indie dyers:

Front to back:

@theyarnbadger – Double Rainbow

@fleabubsbylala – Disco 2000

@woollychic – Heartspun Purple 2020

@peakdistrictyarns – Sorbet

Day 17 : Yarn Bombing

A model of a washing line with four coloured laminated sock shapes hanging from it.  The socks have the words "Why not knit socks?" on them.  There are small balls of yarn and a tiny washing basket containing tiny pegs on the green base

Multi-coloured socks hung up on a washing line.  Each sock has tag to describe the yarn and send a message to the new owner

Multi-coloured socks in a pile.  The tag on one of the socks is visible

A landscape with hills in the background.  In the foreground is a field with sheep and a crocheted banner spelling out Yarndale hung from the fence

Multi-coloured circular crocheted mandalas hanging from the branches of trees

Yarn bombing … with socks? 

Well, the Yarndale Sock Line got pretty close! 😀

The Yarndale Sock Line was a very special kind of charity sock knit where socks were gifted to then be given away after the Yarndale festival in September each year.  You can read more about it and how it all started on the blog – the link is in my profile.  It ran for 5 years and 931 pairs of socks were given away to people who needed to know that someone was thinking about them – people in residential homes, hospices, women’s shelters and homeless people – which was absolutely amazing.  Each pair had a label with the sock details on it, and also a personal message to the person who would receive the socks.  I never fail to be astounded by skills and generosity of the yarny community!  Swipe to see some of the socks displayed on the Sock Line at Yarndale.

The Yarndale festival isn’t running this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic but one of the highlights for many visitors was the yarn bombing that lined the footpath through the park to the Auction Mart where Yarndale is held. 

And you might be wondering about the main photo …  Small daughter and I made our own version of the Yarndale Sock Line for the very first time I went to Yarndale to hold my Sock Clinic and chat to people about the Sock Line and socks in general.  Why not knit socks?  Why not indeed! 

(And if you want to knit your own pair of real-life socks and need to get started, you’ll find the Sockalong tutorials here!)

Day 18 : Cosy Corner

A basket containing some knitting, some dark chocolate buttons, knitting needles and a small notions pouch to the left, and a mug of tea and candles to the right on a white background

What words come to mind when you think of hand knitted socks?

“Cosy” is definitely up there at the top of my list, and today’s #YarnFriendsRock hashtag is “Cosy Corner”.  Now I know what you’re thinking – there’s definitely no “corner” in my photo, cosy or otherwise – but if you took part in my Winter Haven KAL in January, then you’ll know all about creating your own cosy space to craft in and you might recognise my basket of knitting and treats as one similar to yours!

The Winter Haven KAL ran for 4 weeks throughout January to focus on knitting socks, proper self-care and not just a few extra bubble baths or manicures, and getting through the dark days of the Winter.  We talked about gratitude, shared book and music recommendations and there was a free sock pattern that I designed just for the KAL (it’s still on the blog here, they’re called Sanctuary Socks).  I loved it!  The KAL posts are all still on the blog if you have a look at the January 2020 archive, and there are photos in my Instagram highlights too.

Today’s prompt has brought back to me all the warm and cosy moments that I spent in front of the fire in January, knitting my socks and taking time out for myself.  I’m thinking of running the Winter Haven KAL again next January if anyone would like to join in – what do you think?

Day 19 : Saturday Share

Two colourwork socks on a white background - one is maroon with grey, the other is grey with maroon

Have you ever tried colourwork?

It something that lots of people tell me they’d like to try but don’t know where to start, so for today’s Saturday Share, I thought I’d share my Easy Colourwork Socks pattern and tutorial. 

Colourwork is a brilliant way to use up leftovers, but the thought of floats, knitting with two or more colours in one or both hands, and using charts is often enough to put people off before they even get started.  I’ve written my tutorial with plenty of photos and there are videos to help every step of the way, from jogless stripes to using one or both hands to work with your colours – we even look at dominant colours to make sure that your colourwork pictures “pop” from the yarn!

You’ll find the pattern and tutorial for free on my blog here and the videos on my YouTube channel – and because the Easy Colourwork Socks are based on my Basic 4ply pattern, you can use the videos to help with the Sockalong socks too! 

The yarn is also reviewed in my No-Nylon Sock Yarn review section – it’s Autumn Yarn by @freeholdyarnco, although sadly, I don’t think it’s available any more.  These socks look great in any yarn, though!

Day 20 : Al Fresco

A hand holding a blue-green partially knitted sock.  In the background is a jetty leading out onto a lake

Does your knitting love to go on a day out? 😀

I very rarely leave the house without my knitting – even if I know I won’t be needing at the other end of the journey, a long and boring stint in a motorway queue once taught me that my socks go everywhere with me!

That, for me, is one of the very best things about sock knitting.  A ball of yarn and a half-knitted sock really doesn’t take up much luggage space – lots of project bags are designed just for socks so are the perfect size – but I know that I’ve got something to occupy my hands and mind if I need them.  Sometimes, I like to take my sock with me just so that I know that it’s there; knitting calms me and makes me feel like I’ve come home, so just knowing that it’s within reach in a stressful situation is enough.

This photo wasn’t taken on a stressful day, though!  This is Windermere in the Lake District earlier this year, and that’s a Basic 4ply Shortie Sock on my needles.  Just out of shot and about to make waves on the calm water are my girls and my husband on a paddle board, and I’m getting a few rounds in whilst I’m waiting for my turn.

And yes, I did put my knitting down when I went out on the water! 😀

How do you feel about taking your knitting out and about?  Is it something that you feel comfortable to do?

Pattern:  Basic 4ply Shortie Socks by Winwick Mum (free pattern on the blog here)

Yarn:  West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Seascape

Free sock knitting tutorials for beginners who need to take their calm with them:  Winwick Mum Sockalong

Day 21 : Colour Flash 

A pair of adult feet modelling some rainbow-coloured socks and a pair of purple Croc shoes.  You can see the rainbow spots through the holes in the shoes

What’s the point in shoes with holes if not to show off your socks?!

When I’m around the house, I’m usually wearing my purple crocs – because I’m often dashing out to the bin, or hanging laundry on the washing line or taking a parcel from a delivery driver, I tend not to wear slippers these days – and I love that I get a flash of the bright colours of whatever pair of socks I’m wearing through the holes.  The man at the garage got a flash of them too when I took my car for a service and realised I hadn’t changed my shoes, but I’m blaming that on lockdown mush-brain!

I think we are all attracted to pops of colour, especially in unexpected places, and I love how they brighten my day.  I never worry that my socks don’t match the rest of my clothes; they make me happy and when we’re happy, we can’t fail to pass that on to others.  Bright socks, purple crocs, I’m easily pleased.  How about you? 🙂

Yarn:  West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley DK in Rum Paradise, now discontinued

Pattern: Basic 8ply (DK) Boot Socks by Winwick Mum

And that’s it for this post!  I’ve really enjoyed looking at these photos again!  I hope you have a lovely weekend – see you next week! xx

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4 Responses

  1. Beverly Vinson says:

    Yes I love bright pops of colors! I’d love to do the Winter Haven next year. I didn’t get a chance to do it this year. Windermere is so beautiful. I’m lucky to have been there twice from the states. Now my kiddos enjoy Beatrix Potter so my trips there take on new meaning.

  2. luluknitts says:

    Thanks so much for another fab post Christine. I really enjoyed it with my 6am coffee this morning (my quiet time before the house erupts). As a result, I'm about to cast on my first pair of colourwork socks so wish me luck, I may be a while….. xxx p.s. Count me in for a Winter Haven KAL (any excuse to eat choc).

  3. Maggieann says:

    Hi Christine, Always enjoy reading your post that lands in my email box every week. We again are not going out Birmingham in the high alert tier so we are trying to be careful.
    Yes I take my sock knitting everywhere I go and have usually two or three pairs on the go. So glad I found your site myst be over four/five years ago now and started my first Winwick socks which is still my basic pattern I use with added extras – patterns different heels and toes but if it hadn’t been for your basic sock there would not be two sock draws upstairs with hubbies and my socks hooray!!!
    Thanks again and please take care in this rotten year we have been having fingers crossed for a better 2021.
    Regards and hugs

  4. happy hooker says:

    I'm a yarn hoarder. Well, you just never know, do you? I don't always take my knitting/crochet with me, but I do like to have something on the go. My hands need to be busy so my mind can wander. And, yes please. Another winter haven KAL would be very much appreciated. I think this year we'll need some cosy time more than ever! xx

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