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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!  💕

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 😀 - 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!

Why the seasons?  Well, the theme of my blog is to look for the extraordinary in the everyday and whilst it can sometimes feel as if the days blur into each other and especially now, the seasons are something that we can all recognise and appreciate wherever we are in the world.  Not a day goes by without me noticing something that's new in the garden or when I'm out with the dog - it could be the first signs of snowdrops or the house martins returning from southern climes to sit on the electricity wires near our house.  It could be the warm air on a Summer's evening when you can't quite bear to go back into the house when it's dark because you're watching bats swooping past, or listening to the sounds that are so different from the daytime.  It could be the Autumn leaves that change colours at different times on different varieties of tree ... there's always something to notice and to marvel at.  

I think we all have a favourite season, don't we, one time of the year that resonates more closely with us for whatever reason.  The seasons are part of who we are - we can't ignore them or get away from them, even if we take a plane across the world to chase the sun or the snow - and our memories are inextricably linked to them.  I loved the idea of trying to capture that with yarn, and I knew that West Yorkshire Spinners - who absolutely understand what goes on in my head - would be able to work their magic to create exactly the yarn I had in mind once again.  And they have!

Let's start with Spring.  Oh, those shades of green!





There are so many leaves of so many shades of green at this time of year, and they change over such a short time too.   Those young horse chestnut leaves in the last photo started off bright green but within a week or so they were very different.  I love that!


Sometimes, it seems that someone has flicked a switch overnight and what was brown one day has a green haze the next.  Fields, hedgerows, trees ... they all follow their own timescale but within a couple of weeks the bare Winter landscape has transformed into a new season full of promise and anticipation.  I'm always impatient to start sowing seeds and looking for new shoots of old favourite plants in the garden.  

There are so many greens it was difficult to choose just five for the yarn (I have five colours in each of my Winwick Mum shades) - and then there was the danger of green overload!  Spring isn't just about green leaves, though, is it?  The top photo above has purple crocus flowering between the ivy and the snowdrop leaves, and one of my favourite sights in Spring is to see the primroses which grow wild in the woods and meadows where I walk with the dog.  



Look how beautifully those pale yellow shades (because if you look closely, primroses are not just one shade of yellow) tone with the green.  Oh, they make my heart sing every time I see them!  

I remembered from my first yarn collection, though, that dyeing yellow in amongst green is more complex than you might imagine and it was with some trepidation that I added it in, knowing that a change might be required.  This is the wonderful thing about working with the WYS Dye House Genies - they can look at my colour ideas and know straight way how they will work as yarn.  Sometimes we need to adjust the shade or even the colour entirely as it looks completely different when it's dyed, and sometimes the colours fit together perfectly straight away - that's the joy of creating!  

Last time, the process was considerably easier as I was able to go to the mill and look through their magic box of colours to put shades together if we needed to make changes, but this time that wasn't an option.  Instead, we made the most of being able to email ideas instantly, sometimes even mid-phone conversation and, because we were working over the brightest weather in the Summer time, we were able to take lots of photos in natural light to make sure that we'd made the right colour choices. 

And fortunately, the primroses worked perfectly with the green leaves and Spring Green was created!



Next comes Summer.  Ah, Summer!  The season of holidays, laughing children playing in gardens, the hum of a neighbour's lawnmower.  I remember the endless sunshine of the 1970s droughts, wondering if it would ever rain again. 

Our Summer season has seemed to get earlier every year with the best of the weather in April, May and June over the last few years.  There's something about those nights around Midsummer in July, though, when the light doesn't fade until really late in the evening and even if I've got to wrap myself up in a woolly blanket, I'll happily sit outside watching the sun go down over the trees in bursts of pink, red and orange. 

We do get some stunning sunsets here in Winwick!



The colours for the Summer Sunset yarn were actually inspired by this next photo.  Small daughter took it last year, not long after the first lockdown had begun and we'd gone out for a walk together.  It had started as a rather grumpy occasion but we were soon mesmerised by the colours in the sunset and before long we were best of friends again.


There was no filter on her phone camera, this is exactly how the colours looked, and they will forever make me think of lazy days of sunshine and bright skies, the slow buzz of bees in the flowers and later, sitting companionably with my family, a cool glass in hand, as the sun slowly set and disappeared over the horizon.



I love that the colours of this yarn have captured the moment perfectly ... they are absolutely Summer Sunset!



From Summer we drift gently into Autumn, the air turning imperceptibly cooler until the day when you don't leave the house without a jacket.  There's a smell in the air that heralds the Autumn and before you know it, it's become a gusty, blustery time of year with whirling leaves swept into deep piles that crunch beneath your feet.

I love the walks with the dog at this time of year, particularly on still days when we can walk beside the canals and waterways and see the leaves reflected in the water.


So many colours!  It's easy to think of Autumn as a dreary season of damp, fog and winds that knock you off your feet, but so often an unpromising start to the day gives way to Autumn sunshine that highlights the colours of the leaves as they change from green to yellow, red, orange and brown in a final blaze before Winter arrives.






It's not just the leaves either - there's colour everywhere!  There's nothing dull about the brown of this conker; it's shiny and vibrant, almost polished enough to see your reflection!




Flowers and berries too ... there's colour everywhere!

I love the colours in this Autumn Leaves yarn, they are exactly the colours that I think of in Autumn.  This was the first of the yarns from the collection to be produced and I loved it on sight.  I always know we've got it right when it makes me cry!



Finally, it's Winter.  Oh, I adore Winter, it's my favourite season!  Beautiful feathery, frosty patterns that appear like magic overnight, turning glass and water into delicate works of art.  Log fires, woolly layers, cold fingers wrapped around mugs of hot chocolate - and of course, snow!  Snow that blankets the ground in a soft white layer, sparkly stars in velvety dark blue night skies ... I never mind the cold, wet days too much if I know that there's still always a chance of waking up to a world that's silent and white!

So often we think of Winter as nothing but monochrome; black, white, grey, slush ... 




but there are so many more colours, even at this time of year.

My wonderful husband surprised me with a trip to the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi in Sweden for my 40th birthday, and I was beyond thrilled to be in a place where you needed to wear the thickest snowsuits to go outside into snow that was inches deep, and that there might be a chance of seeing the Northern Lights if we were really lucky!  It was there that I got to see that there really is colour everywhere if you look for it.

The Ice Hotel is built each year from from ice taken from the nearby Torne River, sometimes mixed with snow to create opaque snice and sometimes used on its own in blocks so clear that it looks like glass.  Many of the rooms have been created by sculptors who fashion incredible structures from the ice; my favourite the year we visited was an ice apple tree, complete with apples, and the bed high up in the branches!

Some rooms were lit up with coloured lights but others had a light all of their own, a magical Winter light that was anything but monochrome.





I absolutely loved it there!  I didn't want to come home and I'd love to go back again (I think I probably follow nearly as many Instagram accounts showing the Northern Lights as I do yarn accounts!), but in the meantime, my gorgeous Winter Icicle yarn evokes all of those memories!


And there we are - my seasonal stories to go with the seasonal yarns.  I hope they reminded you of some seasonal memories of your own!

I'll be back later in the week to talk about the patterns ... see you then! xx


14 comments:

  1. I’ve bought the green one. Love those limes!

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  2. I’ve always wanted to stay in an ice hotel. Also, I love the time at sunset where the colors are vibrant and everything else looks inky black.

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  3. ohhh my, hearing the stories & seeing the colour photos that inspired the yarns is such an eye opener & makes you really appreciate the detail & work that has gone into making them.
    loved the tour & now i think i love ALL 4 balls!
    autumn would have to be my favourite season, for where i originally come from we have lots of those trees that change colour (deciduous?) i miss them being up here in Qld.
    can't wait to see the patterns
    lovely post
    thanx for sharing

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  4. Thank you for your colour story, I really enjoyed it. I love them all but the winter one is especially beautiful , I shall definitely be buying that one. I also want to say I appreciate your blog, the monthly musings email the groups and the wonderful basic sock pattern. Thank you Christine !

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  5. I love reading your blogs especially this one, the stories behind the new yarns. The colours are beautiful in the photographs and in the yarns. Well done and Congratulations on this achievement.

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  6. I especially love the Summer yarn. I often look at a sunrise or sunset and wish I could knit it somehow. Can’t wait to get started on my next pair of socks in this beautiful colour way.

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  7. Lovely photos, lovely yarns, lovely story. So cheering!

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  8. You've matched the yarn to the seasons beautifully!!

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  9. My parcel of all 4 colours and the book arrived today from Black Sheep Wools - so lovely! I’ve done plain and cabled socks but not lace so that’s a new challenge for this year (I’ve done lace knitting but not on socks).

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  10. Thank you Christine the yarns are beautiful. Your stories make us see beauty in every day and appreciate those quiet moments 😊

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  11. These are gorgeous. I would like to make kid's socks using these yarns - do you have a pattern or a chart to adapt from your basic adult pattern - which is my fave? I've had a look but cant see one on you site. Many thanks, Jen

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    1. Thank you! Yes, you can use the Sock Stitch Calculation (link over in the right hand side bar) to work out the number of stitches you need, then you just knit the socks as for the adult pattern but with a smaller number of stitches. If you have a look at my Two at a Time tutorial, I made a pair of children's socks for that and the measurements are at the bottom if you scroll down so that should help you to scale down. Hope that helps! xx

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    2. Thanks so much Christine

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