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!)

πŸ•― 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.


πŸ•― You’ve posted a cosy-looking fireplace photo … can you only join in if you live somewhere where the winter is cold? 

No, not at all!  My experience of winter is that it’s generally cold, usually wet and often a bit miserable after the Christmas holidays so this is what winter looks like to me.  Personally, I love the month of January with these cosy fireplace moments and with still a chance that it might snow (I live in eternal hope), days where the whole year stretches out in front of you with possibilities and an opportunity to think about what you want to do with your time.  Oh, and to finish off all that Christmas chocolate that’s still around! – but I do know that it’s not the same for everyone. 

Your Winter might look completely different, and that doesn’t matter at all as what’s important in this KAL is the “haven” part and you can have that anywhere in the world.  The dictionary definition of a haven is somewhere that offers refuge, rest and even sanctuary and that’s something that we can all be glad of, whatever the weather!

πŸ•― Will I like the project that you have to make to take part?

I hope so!  Just like last year, I’ve got a brand new sock pattern coming out which I’m going to share on the blog especially for the KAL.  It’s a Basic 4ply Knee High Socks pattern based on the Basic 4ply Socks pattern used for my Sockalong tutorials – so many people have asked me about knitting knee high socks that I thought it was time that I created a pattern for them! 

I’ll post the pattern next Thursday to give you time to have a look at it and download it ready for Friday’s KAL start, but here’s a sneak peek …

Look at that – those stripes just keep on going! πŸ˜€

You’ll need 2 x 100g balls of yarn to knit a pair of knee high socks, but if you don’t have two balls the same, you can use contrast yarns for the cuff, heels and toes, or you can use leftovers to create stripy scrappy socks so they’re a good stash buster too!

Don’t worry if this doesn’t look like something that floats your boat – you can start any project that you like as to join in the Winwick Mum Winter Haven KAL you just need to use 

WINWICK MUM YARN


 AND/OR 

A WINWICK MUM PATTERN

  

  • If you’re a beginner sock knitter, use the Sockalong tutorials and knit your very first pair of socks – you know you want to!  
  • If you’re more experienced, try out the Basic 4ply Knee High Socks pattern or pick another one that you think you’d like to tackle – you can find all of my sock patterns here.  
  • If you don’t want to knit socks at all, choose something else: hats, shawls, mittens, jumpers (yes, there have been jumpers knitted in Winwick Mum yarn!) … the point of the KAL is that we create some time for ourselves so you need a project on your needles (or even your crochet hook if that’s more your thing) that’s going to give you some pleasure.

It doesn’t matter if it takes you more or less than four weeks to finish it – you can always start something else if you finish early, or continue after the KAL has finished if you’ve got a bigger project.  

πŸ•― What yarn can I use?

Well, I’d really love you to use Winwick Mum yarn, so if you’ve got some in your stash then you’ve got time to dig it out (this is a great opportunity to use up some of your stash!).  As you’ve seen, there are quite a few patterns using the Winwick Mum yarns now so you can see how they knit up and there might be one (or two) that you’d fancy trying out.

A photo showing four balls of Winwick Mum yarn balanced on some Winwick Mum Collection pattern books.  There is a panelled wooden wall in the background and the books are resting on a wooden mantelpiece

Winwick Mum yarn is part of the West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply range – if you haven’t heard of it before you can read the story of how it came about here; it’s available from many local yarn shops including City Knits*, Northern Yarn*, online retailers such as Black Sheep Wools and Wool Warehouse, and if you’re overseas there’s a stockist list here on the WYS website.

However, I also know that not everyone has any, or can get any for various reasons, or it might not suit the pattern you want to make – or you might just not like it (that’s fine, I love it enough for both of us πŸ˜€) so rather than feel that you can’t join in, use another yarn instead but do please use one of my patterns to join in with the KAL.

πŸ•― Do I need anything else?

Yes!  You’ll need a space that’s going to be your Winter Haven.  A favourite armchair?  Your spot on the sofa?  A chair outside on a porch or in the garden, perhaps, if you live somewhere warm enough to sit outside?  It’s up to you, but choose somewhere that can be your space for a short while, a place where you can sit and take a few moments to yourself.  

Here’s mine, a rocking chair by the fireplace …

A photo showing an open fire burning in a chrome fireplace to the left of the photo, and a brown leather rocking chair with a red and gold striped cushion on it to the right.  In the background is a panelled wooden wall with a mirror in a curved wooden frame resting against it.  In the foreground is a small table with an orange mug of tea and a plant on it.

I’ve got some extra fairy lights to add a cosy feel to the corner, and I will be very comfortable just there with my knitting and the fire crackling away!

You’ll also need a notebook and pen.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy notebook – this is an old one that I found in a cupboard which I think was a gift at one point – but it does need to be something that you can write in and keep safe, rather than Post-It notes or little scraps of paper.  This is the one I used for the last KAL and despite my best intentions, I didn’t fill it so I’m going to use it again this time.

A photo of a pale oak wooden table with an orange mug, a fountain pen and notebook with an ornate design on it

Have you got a spare project bag?  Put your KAL work in there, along with the accessories that you know you will need so that you’re not hunting around for them when you want to use them.  You might only choose to work on your project during spare moments, or it might be your go-to for the month, but I think there’s always something lovely about putting a new project in it’s own bag.  You don’t have to have expensive designed-for-purpose bags – the one that I usually take on holiday with me once contained pillow cases (for some reason they came in a small bag that’s just the right size for a ball of sock yarn!), and when I first started knitting socks, I used a fancy wash bag that had zip pockets for storing my needles (I was more pleased with that than the smellies that came with the bag as a Christmas gift! πŸ˜€) –  you can be creative with what you have already.  Of course, it’s always an opportunity to buy or make yourself a lovely new project bag (using stash fabric, perhaps?!) so choose to do whatever will make you feel happy when you’re sitting in your Haven space.

Here’s mine for this year.  It was a gift quite a few years ago and I love it!  It’s seen a fair few pairs of socks come and go, and will be just right for this year.

As the purpose of our Winter Haven will be to bring some light to the dark January days, you’ll need some light – not just a reading or craft light which may well be necessary depending on where your Haven space is, but something that evokes the feeling of cosy, of being safe in your own little halo of brightness.  How about a candle and maybe some fairy lights if you have them (perhaps keep some out from the Christmas decorations box just a little bit longer?).  

A photo of a mirror in curved wooden frame decorated with multi coloured fairy lights and with candles glowing next to it

A scented candle would be lovely if you’ve got one – but any candles will be fine; tea lights on a saucer or a household in-case-of-power-cuts candle in a jam jar would be perfect too.  There’s something about the glow from a candle flame that is very calming, I think, and is just the right thing for our Haven.  Battery-operated candles also have a warm glow and are safer if you’ve got children or pets around.  

I treated myself to a new wax burner and some soy wax melts recently, so that’s definitely coming into my Haven with me – I love the patterns from the candle!

You might also like to find a book that you’ve been planning to read.  I was given some new ones at Christmas that I’m looking forward to getting stuck into, and this time of the year is always a good time to dig out some of the self-help/self-care books on my book shelf too.  It’s easy to think that once you read a book like that, you’ll remember everything that’s written on the pages but I often find some new nugget of information that is just what I need at the moment.

Some treats!  Oh, I know we’ve just had Christmas and everybody is thinking about losing weight and getting healthier, but what’s a cosy sanctuary without a bit of chocolate to munch?!  Well, there’s going to be some in mine, anyway – I know not everybody eats chocolate so bring along whatever is a treat for you, and you’re going to want something to drink too, so have a think about what might be a treat in that department too.  I’ll have some suggestions as we go through the KAL, but you may want to stick to your own ideas!

A photo of a small table with an orange mug with a Herdy log, a Terry's Chocolate Orange, a Toblerone, a mince pie on a black and white spotted saucer and two Ferrero Rocher chocolates on it.  In the background is a brown leather rocking chair and an open fire in a chrome fireplace
Don’t worry – I’m not planning to eat all this in one go!

Finally, a bit of greenery – something to remind you that the winter doesn’t last forever and that the plants and flowers will come back to life again.  Bring something in from your garden – some evergreen stems, or some berries, maybe even some winter flowers if you’ve got any – or see what is in store in your local greengrocer’s or supermarket.  Buy cut flowers or buy yourself a winter flowering plant; choose whatever makes your heart sing!  

At this time of year, I move all my house plants into our living room as it’s warmer for them, and big daughter is looking after a friend’s Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) so we’ve currently got two of them, plus goodness knows how many other succulents in pots sitting on the hearth.  Plenty of greenery!

So that’s everything we’re going to need to get started.  There’s no official sign up to do, just join in when the KAL starts next week.  Take some time this week to think about what project will make you happy in your Haven – the colours, the weight of yarn, the pattern that you’ve chosen – to gather your other items together (remember, there’s no need to buy anything new if you’ve got things around the house you can use) and then we’ll be all ready to start next Friday.  

I can’t wait!

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54 Responses

  1. Carrie says:

    I'll be joining you in the Winter Haven KAL. Lovely idea!

  2. Lisa Holmes says:

    What a great idea,I can't wait to start! x

  3. Mairi Hughes says:

    Looking forward to joining in

  4. Betsy says:

    I received your book Super Socks from my daughter for Christmas and although I have made several pairs of socks am learning a lot from your book. so for my Winter Haven KAL, I'll continue working on her socks. I live in Florida not 20 miles from the city of Winter Haven. Small world!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh that's brilliant, I'm glad there's something new in there for you! Someone mentioned to me last year that there is a place called Winter Haven, I had no idea but doesn't that sound like a wonderful place to live?! πŸ˜€ xx

  5. Carole’s Knits & Pieces says:

    Fab idea! Looking forward to your new sock pattern.

  6. Catherine T says:

    So excited. Last year I followed along from Chad and this year I'm in Scotland, so quite a different haven KAL experience. Looking forward to it.

  7. Vicki Maynes says:

    I've always wanted to be a part knit knee socks! I'd love to join in!

  8. Julia Balbilla says:

    Really excited about learning to make knee high socks and coincidentally I have a ball of the lovely WYS Wildflower on order. However it is just one ball. If I do contrast heels etc would one ball be enough or should I order another?

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I made the smallest size of the pattern for my UK size 5 feet (14" calf and 8" foot) and used contrasts for the cuff, heel and toes with 20g of the main yarn left over so I'd say yes. Even if your feet are bigger than mine, you should get a bigger size out of one ball, and if the worst happens and you think you're going to run out, you could make extra contrast stripes down by the toes. Hope that helps! πŸ˜€ xx

    • Julia Balbilla says:

      That's great! Thank you so much.

  9. CW56 says:

    What’s the name of the purple striped yarn in your photo pls? My sister loves anything purple so I thought I’d use the winter KAL to knit a pair of socks for her and that yarn looks perfect!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      The purple on is Hidden Gem – if you have a look on the Winwick Mum yarn page (link is over in the right hand side bar) you'll be able to see how it knits up. It'll be great to have you join in! πŸ˜€ xx

  10. Gillian says:

    I will be joining you. Knitted my husband some socks using your pattern. He loves them and has 'ordered' another pair. Love making socks although still a novice.

  11. Unknown says:

    What a lovely cosy idea to wake up to on a snowy morning. I was gifted 2 balls of Winwick Mum yarn at Christmas so perfect timing x

  12. Luluabel says:

    Can’t wait this will be my first Kal

  13. Susan Rayner says:

    Sounds like a winter heaven and haven!! Perfect! Looking forward to it!!

  14. Bunnygirl says:

    What a fabulous way to ring in the new year! I'll be joining you from Melbourne Beach, FL. Oddly enough, despite the usually very warm temperatures here, my condo came with an electric fire place. It's not very functional in terms of heat, but will give me the desired coziness while I knit, eat copious amounts of chocolate and drink my tea.

  15. tink says:

    I've always been nagged for knee high socks, this sounds awesome thank you

  16. Kerryf says:

    This will be my first KAL – looking forward to hearing about the pattern. I have almost finished my first sock as well!! Stupidly pleased with myself as this is the 4th attempt!! Xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Ooh, be super-proud, not stupidly pleased, it's always a wonderful achievement to finish your first sock! xx

  17. Anita says:

    I feel like taking the opportunity to finish first helical socks. I've been pondering the heel but saw the solution today. That's me sorted I think

  18. Hope says:

    Just read a post on FB sockalong and I’m excited to join. I’ve just today been introduced to WYS and i have the perfect skeins picked out. Wish me luck my local shop has two skeins in stockπŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

  19. Hope says:

    I just heard about the KAL on FB sockalong! I have the perfect yarn in mind. Fingers crossed my local shop has two skeins in stock πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Do I need to do anything special to follow along or is it all in your future blog posts???

  20. Hope says:

    Can’t wait πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

  21. selina says:

    i am currently finishing a pair of Hermione's Everyday socks, a lovely knit (did a plain foot) they are with a striped 4ply of Stylecraft that was on special but i am keen to try your wave or ripple pattern for striped socks, for i have never really liked stripes flat/straight but wavy or rippled i think would look pretty good! it's the middle of summer here with high humidity with 36`c+ heat most days, i sit in front of a fan to knit my socks, a nice little project that doesn't get too hot. i had a friend make me some small bags just big enough to put my sock yarns in too; love your sheep bag!
    thanx for sharing

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Ooh, that does sound very hot! Yes, the ripple pattern works well with stripes so hopefully you'll like the yarn that way! xx

  22. Unknown says:

    My 'hyggekrog' awaits, and I'm looking forward to receiving the sock pattern later inn the week albeit with a bit of apprehension as my sock knitting skills although adequate for the basics are still a bit limited and I don't like being pushed outside my comfort zone! And I've still got Christmas treats to finish including gifts from a friend whose gift purchasing binge included a trip to an Italian website from which she bought the most glorious chocolates…

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Those treats sound wonderful, and don't worry about your sock knitting skills – if you can knit basic socks then you will manage other pairs too! xx

  23. Knitting Bandit says:

    Thank you Christine for this homely opportunity. I recently purchased Supersocks which I've been studying plus your pattern book for all the WYS Xmas yarns. Simon myrrh pair of socks and am totally addicted. I might try the Silent Night knee socks with a reinforced sole. Thank you for all your endeavours in promoting sock knitting, so that this tradition which my grandmother and many before her who did it from necessity, wont be forgotten. You are my national/global treasure. Regards and Healthy New Year to you and yours and to all the sock knitters of the world, from N. Ireland

  24. Unknown says:

    Loved reading the blog and excited to knit my first ever pair of socksπŸ˜πŸ’žπŸ˜€

  25. Joy says:

    So excited how do I join

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Just find yourself a cosy space, a Winwick Mum pattern or use Winwick Mum yarn and start knitting – and being kind to yourself! πŸ™‚ xx

  26. Sarah says:

    Hi Christine, I'm confused how many stitches to divide into 3 for the leg (Kneehigh Winter KAL). I cast on 100 stitches for cuff and the ball of my foot is 8 inches. Thank you

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi Sarah, you need to know how many stitches you would normally cast on for a sock as well as the cuff, so if the ball of your foot is 8 inches and your knit at 8 sts per inch, you'd probably be casting on 60 or 64 sts. You need half of that for the top of the foot (30 or 32) and that's where you place your second marker (you'll already have one to indicate the start of the round), and then you'd divide the rest of the stitches in half and put your third marker at the halfway point and that's where you'll create your decreases. Does that make sense?

  27. Mangle173 says:

    Hello, my husband is working from home, in the living room, so my knitting sanctuary is the bedroom.
    I joined your Facebook sockalong for beginners group, bought your Super Socks book, and some Teri Dow 4ply in a muted autumnal colourway (no colour matching).
    I’ve knitted socks on 4mm dpns with dk wool previously, so feel a bit like I’m using extremely fragile cocktail sticks. First cuff done, I’m away. Thank you.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hooray! It sounds like you're all set up which is excellent! It can be quite a shock to the system to go from 4mm to 2.5mm needles though … πŸ™‚ xx

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