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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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