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!

🕯 My space

Although I am much better these days at taking a few minutes to sit down when I need to, running the KAL has given me a good excuse to make sure that I really do take some time out and remember that really, this is still hibernation season.

Given the weather in the UK yesterday, I think that’s a good thing – heavy snow in lots of places (although not Winwick, as usual!); I’ve been enjoying it vicariously through friends’ photos and it’s probably just as well that we’re in lockdown or I’d have been on my way to visit them with my sledge!

Last year, lots of people found their Haven space in a cafe or library, needing to be away from home, and whilst we might wish for that this year, it’s not been possible.  Oh, for the “olden days” when we could go to a cafe or a library without worry!  It does make you realise how much we’ve taken for granted, doesn’t it?

This year, I’ve heard about Haven spaces in attics and outdoor sheds (although I do hope they have some form of heating!) and I think we’ve all needed to be a bit more creative with thinking about how, where and when we can take those moments for ourselves.

Would you like to have a look at some Haven spaces?  I’m very nosey and I’ve LOVED seeing how people are all set up to spend their cosy time! 🙂

Just like me, Pip has chosen to create her Haven in the same space as last year – and she looks as if she sits about as close to the fire as I do!

Source: @eclectic_knitter_novelist

Now that looks like a cosy space, doesn’t it?  Annette has just about enough room to squeeze in there between the snuggly Attic24 blanket and the patchwork quilt … definitely a place to be in this cold weather!

Source: @mrs_aedragonfly

Sarah’s all set up to tackle her first pair of knee high socks … those twinkly fairy lights do add to the cosiness!

Source: @penberthyarns

Cath is very organised in her knitting den, she’s got everything she could need … including her cat who appeared in the next photo on Instagram!

Source: @thecablemeister

I think Amanda is set to stay here for the whole of the Winter!  What a cosy space, I love it!  Our pets don’t need much encouragement to get in with us whenever we sit down, do they?  One of our cats will actually come and tell us that it’s “sitting down time” around 7pm at night as she is ready to snuggle down on a warm lap!

Source: Amanda via Facebook

Valerie has everything she could possibly need here too … she’s even got snow!  On another photo she has a copy of Becoming by Michelle Obama to read and she’s reminded me that that book is on my list too.  Big daughter bought it some time ago and said I could borrow it and I’d completely forgotten!

Source: Valerie via Facebook

Quite a few people used baskets last year to keep all of their KAL things together, and I thought it was such a good idea.  Baskets feel very homely, don’t they?  I found my basket from when I used to have domestic science lessons at school in the attic (cooking lessons, to you and me, I think it might be called home economics now) which I’d brought from Dad’s house and now that’s full of yarn.  It doesn’t look quite as pretty or organised as Sarah’s though!

Source: @Sarah1420

Sylvia emailed me this photo of her Haven space and she’s got all the cosy things in there – that blanket looks very snuggly, doesn’t it?

Source: Sylvia via email

🕯 Project

How have you been getting on with your projects? I’ve been doing pretty well with my knee high socks this week …

I’m down to the toes on the first one, although I’ve got more yarn left over than I thought I might have so I’m tempted to unravel the foot and make the leg longer so that there’s no waste.  I’ve left it for now and started the second one, and I can make that decision later.  (My yarn is Opal Uni in navy blue for the cuff and Urth Uneek Sock Kit for the rest of the sock.)

Let’s have a look at what you’ve been up to!

Frances has started a pair of Amory socks, and she’s chosen the same colour as I did too.  I had to look twice at her photo as I also have a Yarndale project bag with that same sheep on it, but she has the zipper version.  She looks properly set up there, doesn’t she, and I hope those are good books!  (I have a list of potential books to read started already!)

Source: @lamb_yarntales

Cath decided to make a pair of Split Mittens from WYS Retreat yarn and they’ve been coming along beautifully.  Such a fabulous colour, too!

Source: @thecablemeister

Judith has started a pair of Adeline socks in Wildflower using Honeysuckle as a contrast – this was the kit from Black Sheep Wools last year and for all those who’ve been in touch to ask about single copies of the pattern, I have mentioned to them and they’ve got it on their list to talk about in one of their next staff meetings.

Source: Judith via Facebook

And there’s a finished sock already!  Debs has rocketed away with her knitting in her Winter Haven this week and she’s going to have cosy toes very soon!

Source: @craftyrabbithole

Do tag me into your photos, or email if that’s easier as I love to see what you’re working on. More project photos to come next week!

🕯 This week’s recipe

I’ve made these before and written about them on the blog, but it wasn’t until I went back to look that I saw it was last July!  These are iced buns (or iced fingers depending on where it is you live!), and this is Paul Hollywood’s recipe.  They worked out beautifully for me last time, and they are surprisingly easy to make too, so I thought they would make a nice treat for everyone this week.  And they did – they were soooo good!

If you want to have a go at making them yourself – they took quite a long time but most of that was proving time so they’re ideal to start and then go back to – you can find the recipe here (this one makes six buns) and there’s a YouTube tutorial in three parts here.  This is the link for the first part, and the videos follow on from each other.  The recipe and video add Chantilly cream to the buns but I don’t bother with the cream.

This plea came from small daughter mid-morning – and reminded me just how grateful I am to her school teachers for keeping the lessons going as this does not look like fun to me either!  I think she deserved an iced bun after this!  (And yes, we message each other in the house – obviously we keep in touch when we’re away from home but sometimes it’s useful to send texts at times like this, although I do make sure that we don’t have ALL of our conversations via text!)

You’ve also been having treats in your Havens …

Pip tried out the Scotch pancakes from last week’s post and said they went down very well with her family – they really are very easy to make so if you’ve not tried them yet, I can recommend it!

Source: @eclectic_knitter_novelist

Lynne has been saving a special bar of chocolate for her Haven, and she said it was a real treat!  She’s making ankle socks in Wildflower – it’s one of her own patterns – and look at the heel!  Doesn’t that look good?

Source: @the_woolnest

I have had some conversations, as I expected, where sweet treats just aren’t the thing for you at the moment and that’s absolutely fine – your Haven is your space to treat yourself properly, so that means that you need to have whatever you need to eat as your treat!  Next week, I’m going to make something savoury so look out for that!

🕯 Something green

My parlour palm hasn’t seemed to mind being in my Haven space this week – in fact, it’s growing a new leaf!  I’m delighted, as this was such a poorly plant a few months ago and now it’s thriving.  I don’t think I’ve ever managed to grow a parlour palm before so I’m doubly pleased!

Have you managed to bring anything green into your space?  There’s some greenery in the photos I’ve shared but it’s hard to find much outdoors in the UK at the moment in the way of flowers rather than Winter leaves.  Even the farm shop hasn’t had much on offer and they’ve usually got some bright flowers to choose from, but I’m hoping there’ll be something next week when I go to buy more eggs.

🕯 Light it up!

I’ve had a lovely time with All The Smells from my wax melt burner this week!  The wax melts themselves last for hours and then when they start to fade, you can either put another one in and make your own blend, or if you want to start from fresh, I learnt a nifty tip to clean out your burner using cotton balls as the wax soaks into the balls and then you don’t have to chip it out when it’s gone cold.  As an added bonus, if you’ve got an open fire or a woodburner, you can use wax-soaked cotton wool as a firelighter so nothing is wasted!

My melts are l-r: Half Light from The Botanical Candle Co (a recommendation from Lucy at Attic24 and oh boy, does it smell fantastic!); melts from Callan Candles and the red disc is the remains of a scented candle that I melted and poured into a mould.  It always seems such a waste to throw it away, and often I’ll melt it and make firelighters with it using wood shavings and egg boxes (ooh, they do smell good when you light the fire!) but I thought I’d try this for a change.


🕯 Listen up!

What have you been listening to this week?

My piano teacher knows me very well and this week, he suggested that we should try a new piece (I think he’s just fed up of my playing the same Einaudi and David Tolk pieces!) and it’s a composer that’s new to me called Stephan Moccio.  His best known music is pieces used in the film Fifty Shades of Grey, but as I’ve neither read the book nor watched the film, this is the first time I’ve heard of him.

I found the piece that I’m going to try playing on YouTube and it’s got a link so you can listen too and see what you think.  I like this kind of thing – not to listen to all the time, but when I’m in the mood to listen rather than sing or dance (yes, much to my girls’ amusement, I am given to leaping around the kitchen in some semblance of dance moves, or at least, that’s what I call them!).


🕯 Self-care

Self-care for me this week has been trying to make sure that I get enough sleep.  My husband and I have got into the bad habit of staying up too late to watch one more episode of whatever series we’ve been watching and suddenly the hours have passed and we’re much later going to bed than we intended.

It’s easily done, isn’t it?

We’ve been watching a series on Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit which we’ve thoroughly enjoyed, and although self-care is about taking time out to sit down and rest (and of course, knit whilst you’re watching TV!), it’s been difficult to balance wanting to see more with knowing that I need to get up the next morning!

I’ve also started going through old bank statements to get rid of the ones that I don’t need any more.  I think I read somewhere once that you only need to keep them for about two years and I’ve got them from way longer than that.  Most banks offer you the option to stop receiving paper statements and for the most part I’ve done that, but I still have one account that sends them – just in case I ever need to provide one a proof of address and a printed version isn’t acceptable.  It doesn’t take long for them to mount up into a huge pile, though, does it?!

I’m on a constant mission to try to get to grips with the amount of stuff that’s around in our house and most of the time, I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle but with bank statements, that’s definitely a victory as I get rid of them faster than they can build up again.  That’s got to be a result!

I said that I would put my book recommendation in this section too, and I finished last week’s Milly Johnson book in just a couple of days – partly because it’s an easy read and partly because I couldn’t put it down.  Oh, isn’t it great when a book grabs you like that?  I’ve also got a treat to come because my friend Susan offered to pass on another Milly Johnson book that she’s already read to me (thank you!), so I’m looking forward to that very much.

This week, I’ve started another book from my Christmas pile: Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior.  I first saw it in the supermarket and was immediately intrigued by the title (I do have a bit of a thing for penguins!) but decided to give that copy as a gift and ask for my own for Christmas.  A sticker on the cover calls it “this year’s Eleanor Oliphant” and I did enjoy that book very much so anything in the same vein should be good.

So far, I am not disappointed.  In fact, I’m finding it quite hard to leave the book alone because it’s downstairs by my Winter Haven chair where I can see it and it calls to me every time I walk past!

This is the other thing that was part of my self-care this week … my jigsaw!  I was very close to finishing it …

and then the last piece was in and it was done.  I don’t know that I’ll do many more this year but it was a lovely thing to do over the Christmas holidays and jigsaws always do feel like a Christmas activity to me.

🕯 Thank you

Have you been remembering to write in your notebook?  It’s surprising just how many things we have to be grateful for when we’re making a point of writing them down!  Did you think that as well this week?  (I did also notice that my handwriting seems to be getting worse, not better – ah, the downside of typing all the time!)

It doesn’t matter if you didn’t write in your book every day – even if you only did it once (and if you haven’t done it at all, go and write something in it now, quick!) then you were still thinking about it, and that’s great!

This week, amongst other things, I’ve been particularly grateful for … friends who know me very well!

Hot chocolate shavings to make my own frothy, milky hot chocolate.  It may not look quite as fancy as the ones you get from a coffee shop and we’re all out of marshmallows, but it did taste good!

And chocolate penguins! (See, I told you I had a bit of a thing for penguins!)

No, I didn’t scoff them all in one go and yes, there are still one or two left in the packet for another day!

Thank you for being part of the KAL with me this week, I have so enjoyed having you be here with me!  Don’t forget to keep tagging me into your posts so that I can have a nosey into your cosy spaces and see your projects – the hashtag is #WinterHavenKAL.

I hope you have a wonderful week in your Winter Haven – see you next Friday! xx

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11 Responses

  1. selina says:

    wow all those cozy nooks look awesome & so comfy!
    everyone has some lovely knitting going on too
    thanx for sharing

  2. Knitting Bandit says:

    Christine, I have a question. If I wanted to knit on a smaller needle to obtain a denser fabric would the Winwick Mum sock calculation work for the corresponding higher number of stitches? I know I would have to calculate for a greater number of stitches for cast on and heel flap and gusset and also for a pattern. I'm just experimenting

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Yes, absolutely, it works for any stitch count and lots of people choose to knit at anything up to 9sts per inch on 2.0 – 2.25mm needles so definitely give it a try and see what you think. It will use up more yarn, though, as you've got more stitches but you'll soon know whether that fabric suits you and you can adjust your yarn requirements accordingly 🙂 xx

    • Knitting Bandit says:

      Thank you for answering my optimistic question. Also thank you for this lovely, cosy winter kal. This is the first time I'm pretty sure, that I have felt motivated and not at a loose end during January, when sometimes, following the Xmas season, I tend to feel unsettled and overthink life. Plus, the added bonus is that I'm starting my Christmas socks gift knitting early so theres no frantic knitting later on, God willing.

  3. Susan Rayner says:

    Another lovely read!! After yet another wet and horrible day here the KAL and the photos of everyone's projects and spaces are such a delight!! People are just so good at staging their photos – who needs magazines! Thank you so much!

  4. Geeha says:

    Hope that you, your family and friends have not been affected by floods. Makes me grateful for my cosy home on high dry land.

  5. Attic24 says:

    Did you also know that if you put your candle burner in the freezer, once frozen, the disc of wax in the top will simply slide out cleanly? I learnt this years ago and it definitely works 🙂 Like you, I'm reeeeeally enjoying the Botanical candle co wax melts, they are so so good xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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