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Wednesday, 21 October 2020

My Instagram Challenge Part 4

It's the last week of photos from the Instagram challenge that I took part in during September.  I had such a lovely time following the prompts and deciding how they could relate to socks and yes, I really could find an excuse to talk about socks for every one of them!   

Thanks for your comments about the previous weeks' photos, I'm glad you've enjoyed seeing them!  It's back to socks and dog walks next week ... πŸ˜€


Day 22 : Gifts

A stack of multi-coloured socks on a white background with a reindeer ornament and one sock in the foreground

Getting socks for Christmas is no joke ...
 
Particularly when they've been made especially for you!
 
Day 22 of #YarnFriendsRock is Gifts which seemed like an ideal opportunity to talk about Christmas socks - actually, any time is an ideal opportunity for me to talk about socks so you had no escape! πŸ™‚
 
I was thrilled to be asked to design the Christmas socks for West Yorkshire Spinners again this year - not just for their gorgeous new sparkly yarn, Silent Night, but brand new patterns for each of the previous years' colours all put together in a special Christmas pattern book.  WYS tick all the boxes for me - a family company employing local people, they support British farmers and they're lovely people to work with so it's always an absolute joy to design for them.
 
It's still early to talk about Christmas, but we knitters need to give ourselves plenty of time and I love that these yarns are all available early enough for gift knitting. You've probably seen plenty of photos on social media already and I'll be writing about the designs on my blog shortly too.  I always want to make my patterns as accessible as possible so none of them are out of reach for an adventurous beginner, although of course you don't have to knit my patterns or even socks with the yarns.
 
Having said that, handing over hand-knitted socks on Christmas morning that fit properly has always been one of my favourite things to do, and seeing someone put on socks that were made especially for them gives me a glow that I just wouldn't get from shop-bought pairs.
 
If you are gift knitting this year, I hope it's all going well and I wish you an extra-special glow on Christmas Day!
 
Yarns: West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Silent Night*, Fairy Lights (also sparkly this year), Candy Cane, Holly Berry and Robin
Patterns: Christmas Sock Collection 1, and the pattern that comes free with the yarn is called Comet
Reindeer: Asda (bargain shelf some years ago) 


Day 23 : Rainbow Love

A basket containing a pair of rainbow-striped socks.  To the right is a ball of rainbow Rum Paradise yarn and in the foreground are four wooden spools containing coloured yarn

Rainbow Love ... well, how could I not fall for those stripes?

They're just the right size - not too big and not too small - so that no sooner have you started one, then the next colour is coming along.  Stripes like this are perfect for big socks (there's nothing like a frequent colour change to keep you going through size 10, 11, 12 ... 14, 15, 16 ...) and they're perfect for small socks (is there anything more cute than baby feet in rainbow socks?).  They're also perfect for bringing a smile to your face as you get dressed in the morning!

I suspect I am not alone in choosing Rum Paradise as the first shade of West Yorkshire Spinners' Signature 4ply yarn to knit socks with!  Waaaay before the Winwick Mum yarns were even an idea, Signature 4ply became a favourite yarn and one that I would always recommend to beginners to start with, and my view hasn't changed.

Knitting socks, either as a beginner or a seasoned socker, is always more fun with a rainbow on your needles - give me a 🌈  if you agree!

Yarn:  West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Rum Paradise
Pattern:  Basic 4ply Socks by Winwick Mum


Day 24 : Yarn Therapy

An image of an old-fashioned television set with a yellow screen and the words "Winwick Mum Yarn Therapy" on it


Did you know the well-being effects of knitting benefit others too?

It wasn't something that had ever occurred to me until I spent a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms with my Dad.  He would snooze, I would knit and I noticed that other people in the waiting room who had been watching whatever TV channel was on would start to watch my hands instead. 

I discovered long ago that knitting anywhere makes me feel calm and as if I'm home (we talked about it the other day, didn't we?), and I began to notice that it was having a similar calming effect on the people around me.  I'm sure there are far more scientific explanations for it than I am able to to give, but if it works, that's good enough for me!

I created this video some time ago and thought you might like to see it - and see how watching someone else knit makes you feel!  Click this link to watch it all!  

Wishing you a calm day! xx


Day 25 : Floral Friday

A pair of socks on sock blockers balanced on their toes against a cream background.  The socks have purple cuffs, heels and toes and the body of the socks are pink and white.  In the foreground is a plant with pink flowers.

Do you have a pair of socks for every occasion?

It appears from today's photo that I do!  It also appears that most of the socks in my sock drawer at the moment were knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners yarn - anyone would think I'm obsessed with them!  🀣  

The yarn is from the Florist range (do you like my nifty segue there?! It's Day 25 : Floral Friday of #YarnFriendsRock) and this is another well-worn pair ... all my socks are well-worn and well-loved! 

I spotted the flowers at the supermarket the other day.  We must have had a very cold night recently as some of my bedding plants have gone to mush - a reminder that Summer is over and the colder weather is on it's way, so I've been gathering some hardier plants to go in my pots for the Winter. 

We're at that time of the seasons changing, wherever you are in the world.  Do you have things that you do to prepare?

Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Foxglove with Violet contrast
Pattern:  Basic 4ply Sock by Winwick Mum using Contrast Cuff, Heel and Toe tutorial 
Plant:  Armeria maritima


Day 26 : Saturday Share

A pair of purple cabled socks being modelled by Christine's feet.  They are resting on a leather footstool in front of an open fire.

It's feeling colder here in the UK, time to dig out those cosy socks!
 
Today is the last Saturday Share of #YarnFriendsRock and I wanted to say thank you for all your comments on my earlier post about the Winter Haven KAL.  I'm delighted that you enjoyed it so much - and I'm all set to run it again in January next year! 
 
That's a few months away though, so today I am sharing this year's pattern for my Sanctuary Socks - in the northern hemisphere it's feeling like time to start lighting the fire and snuggle up as the nights draw in so you might like some calming sanctuary knitting to do!  The free pattern is a cable which slaloms down the socks all the way to the toes – I do love cables!
 
If sock knitting is on your list for this Autumn and you want something easier to start with, these socks are based on the free beginner Sockalong pattern and tutorials.  If you're new to cabled socks, you might find my Easy Cable Socks tutorial helpful. And you're still allowed to knit these socks even if the weather is getting warmer where you live! 🀣
 
We all need our cosy, sanctuary time to recharge our batteries and more so than ever at the moment.  If knitting is something that gets you through the day, I think that more than qualifies as the oxygen mask that you fit for yourself before helping others ... xx
 
Pattern:  Sanctuary Socks by Winwick Mum
Yarn:  West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Hidden Gem*


Day 27 : Never-ending WIP

A basket containing a half-knitted blue and purple sock.  To the right is a blue Neat Ripple sock, to the left in front is a purple sock and to the right at the front is a purple mottled sock.  All are half-knitted

Never-ending WIP ... oh dear, it's confession time!
 
Today's prompt for #YarnFriendsRock is Never-ending WIP - I've got a fair few sitting in project bags and I never like to think of them as the "lost and unloved", just the "waiting for the right time".  They'll all get finished at some point; I like to have a few pairs of socks on the go to suit all occasions.  Some are commissions with a deadline, some are plain socks that don't take much thought (ideal for waiting at school), others are simply because I like the yarn and the pattern together or are socks that I only seem to knit when I'm on holiday (which is why it's taking me forever to finish the pair in the bottom right hand corner!). 
 
Therapeutic knitting expert Betsan Corkhill approves of multiple WIPs – (read about her workshop that I attended some years ago here).  She gives permission not to have to finish each project before starting the next one, saying that having WIPs in bright colours for days when we might not feel on top form, or emergency knitting to grab if we know that we're going to need it during the day is perfectly acceptable - and essential for our mental well-being.  In fact, I think she listed seven types of WIP to suit all eventualities so I never feel guilty about having more than one pair of socks on the needles!  You can find out  more about Betsan and her work on her website at www.stitchlinks.com.
 
So what about you?  Are you a one-project person or a multi-WIP-er like me?  (Is that a word?  It should be! 🀣 )
 
Clockwise from top left:
Yarns: Novita 7 Brothers Polaris in  Frosty Night; West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Blue Lagoon; Wool is the Answer 4ply in Blueberry Mash; West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Violet with Hey Jay Yarns contrast heel
Patterns: DK (8ply) boot socks by Winwick Mum adapted for Aran yarn - pattern on the way!; Neat Ripple Socks by Winwick Mum; Angee by Cookie A; Basic 4ply Socks by Winwick Mum with short row heel


Day 28 : Add some magic

A pair of blue cabled socks being modelled by Christine.  The focus is on the heels

"It really is a bit of magic!"
 
I hear this all the time when someone turns a heel for the first time, and I don't think I will ever get tired of hearing it!
 
What is it about turning our knitting on a 90 degree angle that makes us all feel like we're ready to conquer the world?! It's the same yarn, the same stitches, the same pattern that we were working on just five minutes earlier - but now we're all wearing our superhero capes and I am sure I'm not the only one who pulls the stitches off the needle because I'm too impatient to wait to try my sock on!
 
"I can't knit socks, the heel is too scary, " is the other thing that I hear all the time - and I am here to tell you that it really isn't. Take it all one row at a time and you too can being performing magic with your pointy sticks. I'll help you - it's all in my Sockalong tutorials written for three different types of needles and with lots of photos to show you how it's done.
 
The best kind of magic with heels, I think, is how they can all look different and fit every kind of foot. That's the very best thing about hand-knit socks full stop, I would say - socks made just for your feet that fit in all the right places. Now that really is magic!
 
 
Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Blueberry BonBon
Pattern: Amory by Winwick Mum (link to pattern page and Sockalong tutorials in my bio)


Day 29 : Animal World

A flatlay showing a calico cat-coloured skein of yarn surrounded by pictures of cats

"Oh little cat with yellow eyes, enthroned upon my garden gate ...

Remote, impassive and sedate,
And so unutterably wise."

My Mum loved this poem by Helen Vaughan Williams, and she loved cats.  I found these postcards in a drawer in my Dad's house that she had saved - she particularly liked Lesley Ann Ivory's drawings - and now they're in my house; I keep thinking that I should throw them away but hang onto them for just a bit longer.

The yarn is Calico Cat by Mothy and the Squid - we've always called them tortoiseshell cats (naughty torties with tortitude!) although I know they are often a bit darker than the mostly white calico cats.  They were my Mum's favourites and I couldn't resist this yarn when I spotted it at Yarndale a few years ago.  I don't know that I will ever knit it up - the colours in the skein are perfect for remembering family cats gone by and how my Mum loved them all.

I'm quite sure I'm not the only one to buy skeins of yarn for the memories they evoke as much as the way the colours blend together.  Is there some yarn in your stash that will always stay as "just yarn"?


Day 30 : Colour Your World

A ball of Brightside yarn and a book entitled "Life is Good"

What colour is your world?

Is it a bright, happy place or are your colours dark and subdued?  I think we all go through phases where both of those apply, no matter how positive our general outlook.  If you don't experience the dark days, how can you enjoy the bright days? 

My Winwick Mum blog started out as a contribution to our local church newsletter.  They needed something to fill the gap between the Home Watch report and the local builders' adverts and I volunteered to write a short column about life as a Mum in our village - anonymously as "Winwick Mum" in case no one liked it! 🀣

My theme was "looking for the extraordinary in the everyday" which is how I have tried to live my life for many years; trying to see past dark days and despair which we all experience at some time or another to find something brighter, knowing that things are often so much worse for someone else and that things will always get better for me.  It's not always easy and sometimes there's no quick fix but life is all about balance and I try to remember that nothing lasts forever as the days pass and events change.

How on earth do you convey that in a yarn?!  Brightside* was the result; the image in my mind's eye was of a rainbow against a stormy sky and I love that the fourth of my Winwick Mum yarns reminds me every time I pick it up that there is always a bright side - it may take some time to see it, but it will be there.  And it reminds me of "Mr Brightside", the song by The Killers that small daughter was obsessed with when I needed a name for my yarn, and I always smile when I think of that too. 

What colour is your world?  Mine's full of rainbows, sometimes with a dark background, but there's always a bright side. 

Thank you for being with me during the 30 days of #YarnFriendsRock.  It's been good to have your company xx


And that's it!  I hope you've enjoyed these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them! xx


* affiliate link

14 comments:

  1. 🌈 I haven’t yet knit with a rainbow yarn, but fully intend to. As usual, reading your blog is spurring me to try something new. And now that I am actually being encouraged to have a few WIPs on the go, I will happily start a pair of rainbow socks. I just started a pair of 8-ply socks yesterday on my two 3.5 mm short circulars and my smaller ones are calling out for something to do!

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    1. Oh you'll have knitted up your 8ply socks in no time, you definitely need a pair of rainbow socks on the go as well! :) xx

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  2. You are amazing, I love reading your blog! Always something positive to say, but in a gentle and wise way. You are the "brightside!" Thanks for another lovely chat. So looking forward to the Winter Haven KAL. Love from Northumberland.x

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    1. Oh you've made my day, thank you so much for your lovely comment! xx

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  3. Lovely post Christine. Your socks are inspirational! So glad having multiple WIPs is a good thing .... need I say more? xxxx (BTW, I couldn't get the link to Betsan to work. It may be my PC but just thought I'd mention it.) xxx

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    1. Thank you! I've been back to check the link and it was right in the post but for some reason Blogger wouldn't redirect to the proper website so I've changed it and I think it's OK now πŸ˜€ xx

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  4. I have just read your piece about therapeutic knitting and have purchased the e-book. It seems the ideal read at this time of restrictions and worry. Thanks for the link.

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    1. I hope you enjoy reading it! I think one of the lovely things about Betsan's work is that it gives us permission to use our crafting time for our own benefit when sometimes we feel guilty about not doing something else - it's taken a long time but I can ignore the vacuuming to sit and knit now! :) xx

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  5. 🌈 WYS Rum Paradise wasn't my first yarn but it was the first pair I seemed well-knitted enough to give as a gift. I must remember to dig out the remnants to knit myself some rainbow feet!

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  6. So enjoy ur blogs , christine,,,,
    I am many sock wips! Get excited,,,
    Finished off 3 pairs,,, so felt I could cast on more,,,
    I am on instagram now,,, finally stepped up ,,, following you!!
    Love it already! I knew I would,,,, haha,,

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  7. Beautiful and inspirational! So very glad you started that Church Newsletter column all those years ago - just think about how many thousands now read your blogs and follow the Facebook Groups and how you have reached out into people's lives and made them better with patterns for socks and other things and colour above all with the garden, dog walks and wools!!

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  8. Je viens d'acheter le fil "silent night"et je suis pressΓ©e de le tricoter !! Merci beaucoup pour vos Super articles de blog. Bonjour de Corse!!

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  9. I love this year's WYS Christmas yarn but haven't bought it yet, I hope there's plenty left. I bought that same Calico Cat yarn by Mothy and the Squid from Yarndale and it's still sitting in my stash. It will be made into socks one day.

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  10. i have lots of WiPs going, when my hands are bad i pick up something that's on big needles & plain knitting is easier; also have 2 pairs of socks on the go, also a cardigan started & a couple of blankets (crochet)
    love your bright coloured socks & all your beautiful skeins.
    those post cards from your mum should be in a frame & on your walls there they will bring cheer to all who see them, i love cats too
    wonderful posts
    thanx for sharing

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