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Sunday, 18 April 2021

Lyme Park

Small daughter, having got back into the late starts and even later evenings with remarkable ease over the Easter holidays, is not looking forward to going back to school tomorrow, as you can imagine!

Me, on the other hand ... I'm looking forward to the routine of the weeks again.  Not the early alarm call, to be sure, but the up-and-out by 8.30am so that I'm ready to get into my work day when I get back.  Ha!  I say "work" and it's certainly true that working for yourself means you often work far harder than you ever would in an office working for someone else, but I love what I do so it never feels like work at all.

Still, I have enjoyed taking it more slowly for the last couple of weeks and it won't be long before the schools break up again at the end of May ... this year is really trundling past at a rate of knots, isn't it?

Small daughter and I went out for the afternoon on Thursday.

A stately home seen across a lake.  There are daffodils around the lake and a blue sky above

Do you recognise it?  It's Lyme at Disley, near Stockport, but if you ever watched the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, you might recognise the house as Pemberley.  Small daughter decided over Christmas that she wanted to read the book (I don't know if she's actually finished it though!), watch the TV series (she thought Colin Firth was rather dashing as Mr Darcy) and watch the later film (she was less taken by that Mr Darcy, although I'm sure he's a lovely man) and to visit Pemberley as she discovered that it isn't too far away from us.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

A cold snap

We've had a heavy frost the last couple of nights - exactly the reason why gardeners know that the frost risk isn't over until the end of May (in my particular part of the world) - but does that stop us from thinking it might have ended early?  Er, no.

Frost on grass and strawberry plant leaves

Frost on strawberry plant leaves

Frost on green leaves

I do have a greenhouse heater but I haven't put it on, I've just been trusting that everything will be warm enough under the Papronet (ancient forefunner to garden fleece that I brought from my Dad's greenhouse) and so far, the seedlings seem to be OK.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Sunny Sunday

It's been snowing in other parts of the country today but not, of course, in the volcanic hotspot that is Winwick.  Here, it's been beautifully Spring-like with bright sunshine that was even warm enough to sit out in for short periods of time, so I did!

A blue speckled sock on a circular needle rests on arm of a wooden garden bench next to an orange mug.  In the background is a hedge.

I've been Spring cleaning today, I've blitzed the house from top to bottom and rewarded myself every now and again with a brew and a few rounds of my sock.  Do you ever do that?  Use your knitting as a reward to get you through something that you'd probably prefer not to do?  Cleaning isn't my favourite activity but I do feel very virtuous now the house is sparkling and smells of fresh air as all the windows have been open.  And yes, that is the Mermaid's Tail sock and no, it's not finished.

I've been experimenting with ways to avoid the pooling on the gusset that you get with yarns from time to time and I think I've come up with a way to do it, so I'll write it up as a tutorial in the next couple of weeks if that would be helpful, but it has meant that I've re-knitted the gusset more times than I usually would do on one sock!

Friday, 9 April 2021

Another Friday

How is it that I managed to write a blog post every day for nearly two weeks and now it's been over a week since the last one?!  I think it doesn't help that it's the school holidays as my usual mush-brain turns into holiday mush-brain and I have no idea what day it is ๐Ÿ˜€  It just goes to show how we manage to fit things in - or not - but here I am at last with a catch up from the last week or so.

These photos were take on one of the walks I did before small daughter broke up for the Easter holidays.  We were out at the Nine Arches in Earlestown again and I took a different path which runs parallel to the main cycle path.  This wide grassy area was lined on both sides by what I thought were hawthorn bushes but reading this post of Lucy's, I think maybe they're blackthorn instead.  I'm now thinking we might have a blackthorn tree in our garden and that's been a mystery to me for the nearly 18 years we've lived here so that's good to know!

A wide grassy path bordered by white flowering bushes

The flowers are very pretty, and very like hawthorn flowers.  It was so lovely to walk down the flower-lined path, it really felt as if Spring had definitely arrived and that everything around me just couldn't wait to burst into life.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

End of March

And here we are at the end of the month!

Thank you if you've stuck with me for the last two weeks whilst I've been posting every day - I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have!

It's been so lovely to have the daily conversation with you.  I haven't always managed to reply to your comments but it's been great to read them all and particularly those from yesterday's Monthly Musing - so many of us "in recovery" from thoughtless childhood words!  Thank you for taking the time to write to me, I very much appreciate it xx

I've taken your advice over the mug stains too, you'll be be pleased to know.  This is after a retainer cleaning tablet, a hot wash in the dishwasher and a good scrub with a scrubby pad in the sink - not bad, eh?!

Photo showing the clean inside of a white mug.  To the left is a pot of tea

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Monthly Musing - March 2021 - Can-do thinking

I love it when you read a magazine article and it stops you in your tracks.
 
The one that I was reading was all about someone whose Grandma had commented disparagingly on the drawing she had given her when she was very young and she never really drew again after that.  It sounds so sad, and might also have you asking, “Why didn’t she ignore the Grandma?” or “Why didn’t she tell the Grandma how much she had upset her?” and I think we all know the answer to that.
 
Reading this, has an occasion sprung to mind when someone told you that you couldn’t do something?  Or can you see yourself in your childhood years feeling dispirited because someone else was better at doing something than you, so you felt that you might as well give up?  Yup, I think there might be more than a few of us.  For me, it was a high school teacher in dressmaking classes (oh yes, that really was a thing!) and I went from being confident and ready to tackle anything to never considering making my own clothes again. 

Monday, 29 March 2021

Blue sky

Look at that sky!  It was such a gorgeous colour of blue when the dog and I set out for our walk this morning.  It's the first walk we've been on since last Thursday and it felt good to be out!

An aeroplane vapour trail across a blue sky framed by trees

It was the vapour trail that caught my eye.  They're much more infrequent these days, I'd quite forgotten what it was like to see them criss-crossing the sky.  We used to be able tell the time by the 9pm Easyjet plane that always flew past our house every night but it's been a year now and the sky is silent in the evening.  I'll miss that, although it will be nice to go on a plane again one day!

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Rainy Sunday

I was hoping the weather would be better today.  I'm feeling full of beans again and I was all set to go out into the garden but it's rained all day so I haven't bothered.  I'm afraid I've used the excuse of not feeling great over the weekend to be a fair weather gardener - but it is so much more pleasant in the sunshine!

I've managed to clear out the box of stuff in my study that I swept off my desk and it feels so good to have all that put away!  A lot of it was paper - letters that I needed to do something with (diary dates, reply to, looking something up) so I've sorted those and the rest of it was boxes of things that didn't need to be in boxes.


One of the boxes had these in them.  They're called Beebombs and they were a Christmas gift from a friend.  You may well have seen things like these before - native wildflower seeds packed into some kind of earth or solid compost shape and the idea is that you plant the whole thing and then see what comes up.  I've got a couple of places in the garden where these can go, but I wanted to wait until the weather was a bit warmer before I planted them.  

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Normal service has been resumed

Yellow tulips, a cinnamon swirl on a black and white plate and a cup of tea on a wooden table

Thank you once again for your lovely comments after my post yesterday.  I did feel very sorry for myself but although I woke up still aching this morning, I've felt better as the day has gone on and I'd say I'm pretty much back to my usual self now. 

It's also been interesting reading your comments to see how we've all reacted differently to the Covid vaccination - some feeling nothing at all, some like me and poorly for a short while and others seem to have had the full hit - I hope everybody is feel well now!

I haven't really done much today.  My husband, lovely man that he is, bought me some tulips and a cinnamon swirl when he was out this afternoon.  I've watched a few videos on YouTube, put some washing in the machine, eaten some leftover pizza (me not feeling very well is an excuse for the girls to order pizza for dinner, apparently) and realised that one of my tidying up decisions last week may not have been my finest move.

Friday, 26 March 2021

I've got chills ...

A cherry cake sits on a wooden chopping board.  A couple of slices have been cut from the loaf

Ugh, I was congratulating myself last night on having no symptoms whatsoever after my jab, not even a sore arm - and then at 11pm, pretty much 12 hours after my jab, they all hit me like a ton of bricks.

I've had the shivers, I've been burning up, everything aches, my arm is sore ... I've been feeling a bit sorry for myself today, it has to be said, although it's made me feel better to read your comments from yesterday and know that firstly, I'm not alone and secondly, I should be fine again by tomorrow.  Thank you!  I know I'm not ill and that really helps too, and that my body is doing what it should be doing by trying to fight whatever this incoming substance is, and it's always comforting to know that things are working properly!

The family has been looking after me whilst I've stayed in bed catching up on sleep.  I can't remember the last time I had a day in bed and I did feel quite guilty about it, but they all seem to be coping just fine (although apparently the dog said that he usually has the whole box of food for breakfast, not just a scoop.  Nobody believed him.) so I am welcoming the opportunity to just have a rest for the day.

As I've not been out and about today, I thought I'd show you this Cherry Almond Loaf Cake that small daughter and I made the other week.  It's a free recipe from Doves Farm, it was really quick to make and it disappeared equally as quickly.  It's very good with a cup of tea!

See you tomorrow when, hopefully, normal service will be resumed!


Thursday, 25 March 2021

Thursday

Helloo!  Thursday today, I'm much more on the ball, not least because I've been for my Covid-19 jab today so I had to remember what day it was ๐Ÿ˜€

A small card indicating that a Covid-19 vaccination has been administered.  In the background are an orange mug of tea and toasted teacake on a black and white plate

Back home, it seemed essential to sit down with a brew and a teacake and admire the sticker that I got for bravery.  Seriously, it was all very easy.  Whatever your view on the vaccine is (and just because I chose to have mine doesn't mean I sit in judgement if you choose not to - it's a very personal decision), you've got to admire the number of people who have volunteered their time to organise car parking, point people in the right direction, hand out masks, squirt hand sanitiser, log registration numbers, clean seats, announce the next available vaccine slot, make sure you sit down before you drive home and wave to you as you leave.  It reminds you that we're all in this together and that hopefully it won't be long before it's safe for those who are shielding and at risk to go outside again.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

What day is it?

Is it still Wednesday?

It's seemed like such a long day today!  

Thank you for still being here with me after blog posts every day, and thank you for your comments too.  I'm doing my best to reply to them all but I know I'm a couple of days behind.  It feels like a proper conversation between us all and I love that!

Today started off at the vet's.  The dog and I had a first-thing-in-the-morning appointment.  Well, the dog did - I went along as chauffeur and spokesperson and he's making good progress in trying to track down the source of his allergies.  Well, at least, the vet didn't seem too cross that on the list of foods he'd eaten this week there was a "dead bird from the roadside" and "something that he found in the bushes", so I took that as progress.

A travel mug of tea, a half-knitted sock and a ball of yarn are on a car dashboard.  Out of the window is a large picture of pets drawn by a child

It feels both normal and strange now to have to sit outside the vets' practice in the car whilst we wait for the vet to come out to see us.  It's funny how quickly we've got used to this lockdown life, isn't it?  I suppose the good thing is that the weather is better now, and this particular vet practice (we're at the animal hospital now, thank goodness for pet insurance!) has a car park, unlike our local vets where we get to stand in the rain.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Winging it

Catkins on a fallen willow tree

Close up of catkins on the willow tree


A black dog looks down a slope into a wooded area with a pond in the background

A large tree has fallen down and is hanging across the canal, it's branches in the water

A large white swan at the canal bank

A shopping trolley containing groceries and a shiny metal incinerator

A partly knitted sock on a circular needle in shades of turquoise and pink.  There is an orange mug next to it and in the background, houseplants and a fireplace


"So tell me," said Lucy, "have you got a plan for your every day posts?"

It didn't take much thought.

"Nope," I said.  "I'll be winging it."

As much as I like a list, I've realised that I do spend quite a lot of my time flying by the seat of my pants (I'd like to say just in my blog-writing, but sadly, that's not the case!) and whilst that has its downsides, it can also be quite liberating.  

Monday, 22 March 2021

Another slice of Winwick Mum life!

It's not sunny today in Winwick, but it's not cold.  Small daughter declared it sufficiently warm to go to school without a coat on and knowing that generally she doesn't seem to feel the cold like I do, I've let her get on with it.  

Winwick St Oswald's Church stands high above a walled grassy bank.  There are dark clouds behind the church spire

It does actually look from this photo of our church like we're going to get wet but I think it's just a day like that.  There's no rain forecast here today, although I think we might get some later in the week.  It's green garden bin collection day on Friday so I'll need to make sure that I get it filled up before the rain comes!

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Not you again?!

Hello, hello, it's Sunday and it's me again!

You might be wondering what's going on here - I mean, two posts in two days?!  That's not usual these days unless I have something in particular to tell you, but you're going to see a lot more of me in March!

I was chatting to my lovely Attic friend recently and our conversation got onto how much she had enjoyed blogging every day in October last year.  Lucy was taking part in the event called Blogtober where bloggers post something every day throughout the month and if you follow blogs, you might have seen a significant increase in your reading material ... I was tempted to join in but had too many other things on my plate at the time to make the commitment, although I did enjoy reading her posts!  

Anyway, she has decided to do the same thing for the remaining days of March and I'm going to join her this time (although we did decide that calling it "Blarch" might sound like you'd eaten something that had disagreed with you ... and where does it stop?  Blapril?  Blay?  Blune?) so here I am ... and here I'll be every day till the end of the month!  If you also follow Lucy and want to read her latest post, it's here.

My mug doesn't half get stained from tea - do you have this problem?

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Spring Equinox

It's the Spring Equinox today which means that the sun is directly over the Equator and day and night are of equal length and that for us in the northern hemisphere, the days will start to get longer and nights shorter.  If you're in the southern hemisphere, it's the other way around and Winter is on it's way for you.

If you use the astronomical calendar then today is the first day of Spring (the meterological first day is 1 March as it divides the year equally into four seasons of three months each) and out in the garden, it really felt as if Spring had sprung! 

The daffodils are coming out now - I can't remember seeing these with their orange trumpets last year but they might have been buried in the border undergrowth - I've been doing a lot of cutting back and have found a few plants I thought I'd lost!

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Mid-March

How has another week nearly passed without me looking?!  

I hope all's well in your world!

Small daughter has nearly finished her second week back at school and she's enjoyed it far more than she expected (or will admit to) ... I pick her up from school and she'll say "Such and such did this in class today, it was soooo funny" and I think about how she has missed that over the last year.  It does make me a little sad to think about it like that, but on the other hand, she's had the experience of being at home when the world was different for a while which may never happen again in her lifetime, and what's life about if not experiencing the new and different?  I think she would tell you that you can keep your new and different if it involves lateral flow Covid tests, but she'll still have a story to tell her grandchildren about life in 2020!

So what stories have I got to tell you this week?

Well, I've finished a sock!  Yes, I know you haven't seen this one before and that's because I've done that classic thing of ignoring all the WIPs that I have showed you and cast on something new.  Doesn't everyone do that?!


The pattern is my Basic 4ply Socks pattern with contrast cuff, heel and toes.

I spoilt myself the other week and bought some hand-dyed skeins (I have realised that spending too much time on Instagram is becoming a very expensive hobby for me!), one of which is this one from Stripey Cat Yarns called Mermaid's Tail.  It's a 50g skein of speckled yarn with 20g of contrast ... I was a bit worried that wouldn't be enough for a pair of socks for me but as you can see, there's plenty left in the balls so I'm confident that I won't run out.  The colours are just lovely - this photo is quite a good representation (my phone camera doesn't like blues, for some reason) but I'm sure I'll be taking more when they're finished!

Friday, 5 March 2021

Friday

It's Friday!  And lockdown restrictions start to ease next week!  It definitely sounds to me like wine o'clock should start a little bit earlier today ๐Ÿ˜€  Having said that, not much changes next week for us apart from small daughter going back to school so it could be that I'm just seeing an excuse to drink more wine ...

So how's your week been?

I'm not quite sure where mine has gone, and I'm also not quite sure what I've done with it!

I did notice that signs of Spring are popping up everywhere now.  This border is along our side path and every year I am delighted to spot purple crocuses that have been missed by a mouse (mice seem to really like crocuses, they must be extra-tasty!) ...


Thursday, 25 February 2021

After half term

Thank you again for all your kind words and enthusiasm about my last post about the Seasons patterns, it's been such an amazing few weeks and I am loving starting to see social media photos of the yarns being used now!

School has finished, been on holiday and re-started again since the yarn launched and it's very strange writing a blog post about being back at school after the half term holidays when "school" is just along the landing on a computer!

Small daughter is not impressed that she has to get out of bed before lunchtime (she's wholeheartedly embraced the teenage time shift and would happily sleep most of her day away given the opportunity) but is even less impressed at the news that the schools are re-opening in March as she has also wholeheartedly embraced the new "uniform" of hoody and pyjama bottoms that are almost certainly not going to acceptable when school re-opens!

We've still managed to do a fair bit over the half term holiday, though.  I got out into the garden at the weekend and started my seed sowing.  It probably is still a little bit early but I was feeling the need to get my hands in the compost and the seeds will grow as fast as they grow despite me!

A potting tray with brightly coloured packets of seeds, a seed tray filled with compost and a plant pot full of compost

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Winwick Mum Seasons yarn - all about the patterns!

Well, what a week it's been!  We've had ALL the seasonal weather here over the last seven days - sunshine, snow, rain, blustery winds ... I could have changed my socks several times every day and still not kept up with it all!

I promised that I would tell you about the patterns that go with the four new Seasons colourways (if by some chance you missed that blog post, you can find it here) and that's what this post is all about.



I said in my last post about colour inspiration that there's always a story and you won't be surprised to know that there's a story behind my pattern designs either.  I thought long and hard about how best to represent my choices of the colours for each yarn in a pattern, and I hope that as you read about them, they'll inspire to you some stories of your own!

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Winwick Mum Seasons yarn - colours and inspiration

Oh wow, oh wow, OH WOW!

Thank you so much for all your lovely words and appreciation for my new Seasons yarn collection - it really has been incredible!  ๐Ÿ’•

Thank you very much too for buying it, for supporting your local yarn shops and for planning something to keep you occupied over the next few weeks and months as this lockdown continues.  There's nothing quite like a new project in new yarn, is there, and this range couldn't have been released at a better time - hooray for West Yorkshire Spinners and their launch schedule! - and I am so pleased to know that you've got something lined up to help to keep your spirits strong as we wait for positive news - as have I, because I'll be wanting pairs of socks for myself in this yarn too!

Three balls of yarn in a round wicker basket - one is shades of green, one is shades of brown, one is shades of blue.  A fourth ball in shades of pink lies next to the basket on a wooden floor

So, I promised that I would tell you more about the yarns and the patterns and how they came about.  I'm going to start today with the colours and the stories behind them - you should know by now that there's always a story behind everything I do ๐Ÿ˜€ - and how we actually managed to create a range of yarn during lockdown when I live over an hour's drive away from the mill!

Monday, 8 February 2021

Winwick Mum yarn - Seasons collection

IT'S HERE!

It's officially launch day for my new Seasons yarn collection, created with my lovely and very clever friends at West Yorkshire Spinners in Signature 4ply, and I can't tell you how excited I am to be finally able to tell you all about it!

Ladies and gentlemen, I am THRILLED to introduce ... the Winwick Mum Seasons collection!


Four balls of yarn lined up on a white board background.  The balls are from left to right: shades of green, shades of pink, shades of brown and yellow, shades of blue and turquoise

Oh, it seems as if I've had to wait forever to be able to share these photos with you!

The four colours are, from left to right, Spring Green, Summer Sunset, Autumn Leaves and Winter Icicle.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

New Winwick Mum yarn ... two days to go!

Psst!  Would you like another sneak peek before the new Winwick Mum yarn launch on Monday?  Ooh, I can't believe that the day is nearly here!  


It's been sooo hard to keep the secret!  Don't worry, I've got the go-ahead to show you these photos so you'll get some idea of what West Yorkshire Spinners and I have been working on over the last year!

Friday, 5 February 2021

Winter Haven KAL 2021 round up

Hello!  How are you doing?  February has arrived and the Winter Haven KAL is over for this year, but I hope you have enjoyed it!  

I've had such a lovely time with the Knitalong again, and it's been fantastic to see your projects and havens too ... just like last year, I thought we'd have one last post to share more of your photos and your thoughts.  Are you ready to see lots of photos?!


Thursday, 4 February 2021

Something new ...

Want to see some more?

Four yarn ball bands are balanced on each other.  The yarn names are Winter Icicle, Spring Green, Autumn Leaves and Summer Sunset.  In the background are four coloured balls of yarn.

Isn't it fab that West Yorkshire Spinners print the yarn shade onto their ball bands now? ๐Ÿ˜€


That's all for today ... but the launch date is getting closer and I'll be able to show you more very soon!


Sunday, 31 January 2021

Monthly Musing - January 2021 - Clearing out

“Flipping heck, I’d forgotten all about that!”

I’ve been tidying up in my little study room today.  It’s not a very big space and I’ve got four bookcases, a desk and a drawer unit crammed into it, not to mention two hampers full of yarn and some boxes tucked under my desk.  Oh, and there are two doors in here as it’s the room that everyone passes on the way to the loo so my wall space is limited!
 
Not being the world’s tidiest person doesn’t help when you’ve got a room that you could just about swing a cat in if it was quite a small cat (this is a figure of speech, I don’t actually do this!), and I am further hampered by the fact that my desk seems to have a large sign over it that says “drop everything that is in the wrong place in the house here”.
 

Friday, 29 January 2021

Winter Haven KAL 2021 - Week 4

Hello to you!  Today is the last post for this year's Winter Haven KAL - I don't know about you, but those weeks seem to have flown by!

It's been so lovely to spend January chatting with you about your cosy spaces and Winter projects, and I hope you've enjoyed seeing the photos too, both here on the blog and in social media posts.  I do love this yarny connection that we share at this time of year!


Thank you for sharing your photos with me again this week and for your emails and your comments here on the blog and social media - I've really felt that being able to see your photos has made me feel very connected to you in your Winter Havens, and it's been lovely to know that we're all crafting and making time for ourselves together!  Even though this is week 4, if you're on social media you can still post photos and find other people's using the hashtag #WinterHavenKAL.

If you're brand new to the blog or the idea of the Winter Haven KAL and you're wondering what it's all about, you've come in just at the end as the KAL is finishing now, but the ideas that I've suggested through the KAL are valid all year round, so do feel free to take a look at the other posts: Week 1Week 2 and Week 3.

As with other weeks, it's time to have a look at what we've all been doing, so for the last time this month, are you ready?


Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Friday, 22 January 2021

Winter Haven KAL 2021 - Week 3

How are you doing?  It's Week 3 of the Winter Haven KAL ... I hope you've been able to keep safe and well, and you've been able to spend plenty of cosy moments in your Havens!

Once again, thank you to everyone who took the time to get in touch through the blog comments, on social media or by email - it's been great to hear from you and I'm so pleased that you're joining in with the KAL!

Apart from Wednesday night's snow - which had all melted by yesterday morning, so it's a good job that small daughter and I went out when we did - it's been a pretty wet and miserable January so far which definitely makes it easier to want to spend time keeping warm and cosy by the fire!  January is actually my favourite month of the year and I'm always a little sad when February arrives, but I'm not that fond of the constant rain so having a good excuse to squeeze in an extra few rounds when I can rather than go out has been very welcome!

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Let it snow ...

On Wednesday, thanks to Storm Christoph, it rained.  And rained and rained.  Oh boy, did those clouds put down some water!  Cheshire, and parts of Warrington in particular, was badly hit and the River Mersey burst its banks and people were flooded out of their homes - absolutely the last thing you would want at the best of times but certainly not in the middle of pandemic.  My heart goes out to them and I do hope they will be able to stay safe.

And then, at about 9pm, I went to let the dog out and everywhere was strangely light.  It was snowing!  And it snowed.  And snowed and snowed.  Huge fat flakes that looked like someone was shaking a feather pillow way up in the sky.  "That'll never stick," I thought, "it's been far too wet."  But it did, and within an hour there were a couple of inches' worth of snow on the ground.

"I'd really like to go out in that," said small daughter, hopefully.

"At 10pm on a school night?"  

But we're not living in the "usual" world, are we?  We put our coats and our wellies on and we went out.

Do you want to come with us?  

Friday, 15 January 2021

Winter Haven KAL 2021 - Week 2

Hello to you!  It's Week 2 of the Winter Haven KAL ... hasn't that first week gone by quickly?!  I hope you've had a lovely week!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to get in touch through the blog comments, on social media or by email - it's been great to hear from you and I'm so pleased that you're joining in with the KAL!

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 think what helps is that this KnitAlong is very flexible, especially as I've got more patterns for you to choose from these days alongside the Basic Socks pattern, and as your Haven will be a space in your house then you haven't got to leave it to go anywhere else, it's much easier to 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 29 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!

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Out of the comfort zone ... onto a TV show!

It's Wednesday already!  How are you doing?  

It's been a proper "back to work" week here.  My husband started back to work - he had last week off which I was very glad about because as someone who works for himself, he often "forgets" to take holidays, so last week was added to his Christmas break and he had a lovely time watching films in the afternoon, reading a novel, listening to his music ... he was properly in his own Winter Haven KAL!

Small daughter was back to school last week working remotely; her school has been absolutely brilliant in terms of getting everyone online and she's having lessons that match her in-school timetable through Microsoft Teams.  We did have a debate about whether she should be texting a friend at the same time, but her argument was that the friend was in the same class, they would sitting next to each other and talking to each other during the lesson about how to do whatever it is they were doing, so it wasn't unreasonable to do the same thing even though they were all separate.  

A desk set up for home school working.  There is an online maths lesson in progress on the computer

It's a tough one, isn't it?  We assume that texting on the phone is a social activity and not at all related to school work, and yet our young people are being denied their own social contact as much as we adults are, and we have certainly learnt over the last year how important social contact of any form is for our own well-being.  We've agreed that as long as her school work doesn't suffer then it's OK.  Everything has to be more flexible these days, we think, and small daughter is smart enough to know that life will return to some kind of normality one day and not making any effort at all now will only make things more difficult for her in the future.  We're very proud of how she's getting on with it - and I am sure you are very proud of your young people too.  None of this is easy.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Winter Haven KAL 2021 - Week 1

Hello!  It's week 1 of the Winter Haven KAL 2021!


Ooh, it's not been a very bright start to the year so far, has it - back in lockdown in the UK, virus restrictions and unrest elsewhere in the world ... it definitely feels like a time to be hunkering down in our Winter Havens, no matter where you live!

The next four weeks of this KAL are all about us, about us allowing ourselves even a few moments in the day to pick up our knitting and shut out the outside world.  I know that it won't be easy this year, what with people working at home, schools back to remote learning and our usual freedoms curtailed, but that just makes it all the more important that we find our own eye of the storm to take a breath and get ready for what comes next.

Outside, the Earth is still resting, getting ready for the Spring when the new life will burst from the trees and the ground, and although we may have hit the ground running after New Year with new resolutions and plans, it's still OK for us to allow ourselves the time to "warm up" to the year to come.   

It's a time of rest and renewal.


It's a time to prepare the ground for the seasons to come.

It's a time when you need a Winter Haven.


Thursday, 7 January 2021

Basic 4ply Knee High Socks - free pattern

How high do you like your socks to go?    

Two pairs of knee high socks being modelled on feet.  One pair is knitted in red, blue, yellow, green Brightside colours, the other is knitted in pink, purple, yellow, blue, green Wildflower colours.  There is a game of Scrabble in progress; the board is on a wooden floor

(Long post warning ...!)

Until last year, I'd never considered knitting knee high socks.  I like to wear mine mid-calf and it wasn't until a flurry of enquiries about longer socks that I started to give it some consideration.  Add to that a request for a pair of long socks for a certain yarn manufacturer's Christmas socks book and I had to think again.

"But who wears long socks?" I asked.  They made me think of cold days in draughty school corridors before woolly tights became an easily-attainable necessity, and long before the days when I could live in my jeans and short boots.  Added to that, all of that knitting ... and calf shaping ... but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to know.  I asked about it on social media and suddenly it all made sense.

You can wear long socks with wellies, with riding boots, with motor cycle boots, with fashion boots, to keep your legs warmer or simply because you like them.  It was like a whole new sock world had opened up to me (oh, I love it when that happens!) and as if to confirm that this was definitely a type of sock that I should add to my Basic Socks collection of patterns (the others are 6ply Boot Socks, DK (8ply) Boot Socks and Basic 4ply Shortie Socks and there's an Aran version on the way later this year), even more requests for knee high socks landed in my various message inboxes.  The Universe has realised that sometimes it needs to bash me over the head with an idea before I listen - but now I was all ears! 

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Winter Haven KAL 2021 - two days to go!

There are just two days to go until the Winter Haven KAL starts for this year!  

A fire is burning in an open fireplace with a pair of feet in multi-coloured socks stretched out in front of it.  There are fairy lights to the right, an orange mug of tea and a small Christmas decorative light on the hearth to the left

Last year's KAL was such a lovely time for me in terms of really thinking about what I was doing for myself and with my crafting that I'm really looking forward to doing it all over again.  You wouldn't think that you need to schedule in time to be kind to yourself, but sometimes that's exactly what's needed!

Here's a quick re-cap of what's going on if you've missed it so far (you can read the "getting ready" post here).


๐Ÿงถ  The Winter Haven KAL (knit-a-long) is all about getting us through the dark days of January, thinking about how best we can be kind to ourselves and others and, yes, getting a bit of knitting done too! 

๐Ÿงถ If you don't live in the part of the world where it's dark and cold at this time of year, you can still join in as although my fireside photos won't be relevant to your season, hopefully the things that I'm going to be talking about during the KAL will be.  

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Winter Haven KAL 2021 countdown!

Happy New Year!

We're here at the very start of 2021 and I am sure I am not alone in hoping that it will be a very different and very much healthier year for everyone!

Now that the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over, it seems like just the right time for the Winter Haven KAL - a new KAL (Knit-a-long) for the New Year that everyone can get involved with if you'd like to.

The KAL starts on 8 January 2021 (next Friday), so I thought that with just under a week to go, it would be a good time to tell you a bit more about it, what's involved and what you'll need to gather together to join in.  (Don't worry, it's not any kind of complicated scavenger hunt, you may well find everything you need around your house!)


๐Ÿ•ฏ So what's it all about then, this Winter Haven KAL?  

Well, it's about spending the weeks of January working on projects that we love or something that we want to learn about, it's about thinking how best we can look after ourselves and others over the coming year, and about using the darker days and nights to recharge our batteries after all the excitement of Christmas and New Year.

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