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!

These are the skeins I bought (with one from The Yarn Badger that I bought a while ago because I loved the colours together) …

They are (l-r) Sunshine and Rainbows, Mermaid’s Tail (both from Stripey Cat Yarns), Thank you NHS and Pickled Cabbage from Truly Hooked and Double Rainbow from The Yarn Badger.  

I did stop buying hand-dyed yarns because I was keeping them to stroke rather than to knit but I have given myself a stern talking-to about this and I’m going to be working my way through the yarns that I’ve got.  It’s not really very fair on the dyers if I (we! 😉) keep all our beautiful skeins unused as knitting them up and sharing photos is a good advertisement for them and everyone needs all they support they can get at the moment – plus we’ve got enough house insulation without me adding another layer, no matter how colourful!  (And there’s that “what if I get run over by a bus?” worry but I’m trying not to think about that one these days!)

I took a photo of Mermaid’s Tail before I wound it up to knit and I think that’s a good way for me to remember how lovely it was rather than have it hidden away in a plastic box.

I have to say, I am in awe of hand-dyeing talents, and I think it’s incredible that we have so many beautiful yarns like this to choose for our projects.  Long may it continue!

I’ve also fished out my Attic24 Moorland Blanket which has been languishing in a project bag for longer than I care to remember.  It’s been there for so long that it’s in Lucy’s original Attic24 colours which were one of her only colourways when I bought it (waaay before the Moorland blanket was created) and I think she’s made about 17 blankets and colourways since that one! 

I have enjoyed working on it again, I have to say.  It’s slow progress as I’m only setting myself a target of one row a day (it takes 2 rows to make a whole stripe) so Lucy could well have created another 17 blankets before I’ve finished, but at least it’s back in progress again now!

I’d completely forgotten that I’d bought myself a new crochet hook just for this blanket at Yarndale umpteen years ago when I started it.  It’s from Fleabubs & Lala and I fell in love with the sparkles, the rainbow, the unicorn … all of it, really!  I’ve realised since spending more time with crocheters that I have a bit of an odd crochet style (isn’t it funny how we just hold our hooks and needles how we are taught and never question it at the time?) and this chunky handle suits me.  I’m also quite a lot slower than all the crocheters I know but I really don’t mind how long it takes –  I’m getting better at enjoying the process instead of rushing to the finish line with things!

Talking about enjoying the process, there have been shoots a-sprouting.  Hooray!  I love that moment when new shoots appear!

I’d had these tomato seeds on the kitchen windowsill and I went to bed one night with the pot being bare soil and in the morning … look!  Isn’t Nature clever?

The seedlings are through in three out of four pots that I sowed now – I’m not quite sure what possessed me to grow four varieties of tomato this year and of course you always plant extra seeds in case some don’t germinate … there will be tomatoes coming out of our ears!

My greenhouse seedlings are coming along nicely as well – I’ll show you those next time!

Now that small daughter is back at school, the dog and I are back into our regular walks again.  We’ve not done too badly with the weather; we’ve only been a bit wet once or twice, and it’s nice to be back out on the footpaths again.

We saw swans nesting near the Nine Arches (and all I could think about was those flipping fish in the water waiting to eat the cygnets!) …

and this morning when we were out we saw the first green fuzz of leaves on the trees …

and the gorse is out too …

It made me very happy to see it – this is exactly the time of the year I was thinking about when I chose the colours for my Spring Green yarn; that time when the landscape changes from Winter monochrome to Spring colour.  Gorgeous!

The dog is very happy to be out again, and to be allowed back off his lead as his strict diet has come to an end – although it wasn’t always as strict as the vet had wanted!  He’s been having a lovely time grubbing about in the bushes, although thanks to the children not being in school for a while there aren’t as many tasty treats as he might have hoped for (there’s a certain area where we walk that seems to be the place to throw uneaten packed lunches into the undergrowth for some reason) so that’s been quite a relief!

Just before small daughter went back to school, we had a Saturday night film night – it’s not always easy to choose a film that we all want to watch but I had bought a DVD a few weeks earlier and had been waiting for the opportunity for us to all watch it together.

This is it …

I’ve seen it before, many years ago, but I knew that no one else had.  Small daughter has been studying the musical Blood Brothers in school; it’s a hugely popular musical about twin brothers separated at birth and brought up in two different families – it’s quite a sad story, really, but small daughter has really enjoyed it.  

“Dancin’ Thru The Dark” was written by the same playwright, Willy Russell, and like Blood Brothers was originally written to be performed in schools (under the name “Stags and Hens”).  This story is of a bride and groom-to-be both out on their hen and stag parties who end up at the same nightclub … with the bride’s ex-boyfriend appearing in the on-stage band.  I thought at first that small daughter might like to see it and then thought that my husband and big daughter would enjoy it too – and as it’s set and filmed in Liverpool, it’s always fun to see if you can recognise places that you know.  There’s a restaurant scene filmed in my very favourite restaurant which hasn’t changed a bit – which doesn’t sound so odd until you realise that the film was made in 1990! 🤣

It’s such a good story – again, a little sad – but what really struck my husband and me (and quite stunned our girls) was how true to the life we remembered the whole nightclub scenes were!  We remembered the clothes, the grotty toilets, the food that was served (“Food?” asked big daughter.  “In a nightclub?”)  Oh yes, it wasn’t great food but there were chips, burgers, hot dogs … we can’t remember if it was a condition of the licence or to soak up the alcohol but there was definitely food!  

I was never a huge fan of nightclubs – I think I always used to go hoping that I’d have a better time than I ever did – but it was a rite of passage, something that you did with your friends and thankfully I don’t have to do any more!

What I do have to do now, though, is go and start some dinner!  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed using the Hello Fresh boxes that I told you about in my last blog post – I did say I’d write more about them so I’ll try to remember to do that next time.  I’ll also need to give you an update on the jumper I’ve been knitting – it’s back in the project bag after I got cross with it, and thank you luluknits for your suggestion of the laceweight yarn … I’ll definitely keep that in mind although at the moment, the thought of starting all over again with another yarn just makes me feel very tired so I’ll leave it in it’s bag until I’m ready to look at it again!

See you again soon! xx

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22 Responses

  1. happy hooker says:

    Oh, WOW! What a pop of colour those skeins are. Resist, resist! I need to finish knitting an Easter bunny for my grandson, which, if the lockdown roadmap goes according to plan, I'll be able to give him IN PERSON. 🥰 xx

  2. mazmama says:

    I remember chicken in a basket at a disco in the 60s!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Yes! Chicken in a basket! We've spoken about that with our girls before now and they looked at us as if we were daft but it was such a big thing! No self-respecting eating establishment ever dared not to have something in a basket on offer! 🤣

  3. Gillian says:

    Love reading your blogs Christine. Lovely pictures from your walks with the dog. I am also pleased that you have unfinished items which you just go back to, whenever that may be. I knit, crochet and cross stitch AND, thanks to you, am addicted to making SOCKS !!! Dont have enough hours in the day. Could do with a maid and a chef ! Take care everyone x

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Ah, thank you! I have SO many unfinished things but I am gradually returning to them and trying to reduce the number … and more hours in the day would be good, wouldn't it?!

  4. Mandy says:

    Ah!! eating chicken in a basket in the half light of the disco, feet sticking to the carpet.
    I too have just found out I have a unique crochet style that I thought was the norm until my friend told me it was weird.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Ugh, those sticky carpets! I'd forgotten about those! I like the term "unique" crochet style much better than "odd" so I think I'll stick with that one! I'm making the stitches just fine so I figure it doesn't matter how I do it as long as it works 😀

  5. kymeara says:

    I bought yarn neddles and was ready to have a go at socks but alas back in a bag with all the other bags of unfinished projects he he your post made me laugh. Love those socks and yarn soooooo much. Lovely post

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh dear! Well, I will be getting the jumper back out one day so hopefully your sock needles will see the light of day too!

  6. Sally Price says:

    Your pictures of your walk are lovely! And thank you so much for your patterns and your experience with no-nylon non-superwash wool. I just made the 6-ply pattern, and they turned out great!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Have done your Christmas robin socks pattern WAS with two cable needles for a friend size 5 but they do look tight and haven't sent yet. Am doing socks with cables from your site and see you advise extra stitches, which I have done. Will the other socks stretch?

    • Winwick Mum says:

      The cables do look tighter because of the paperchain design but there should be enough stretch in the sock for them to fit comfortably at whichever size you chose to knit. The original Easy Cable socks that I made were a little bit tighter because of the yarn that I chose which wasn't quite as stretchy as the WYS yarns are so it was necessary to add in the extra stitches. I hope that helps!

  8. Corinne says:

    Thank you for the lovely photos! It feels like we've been invited along. I use Fleabubs by Lala hooks all the time. I find my hand doesn't cramp up when I use them. I've also started using the WYS Christmas yarn I bought ages ago to cast on some socks, so I'm looking forward to making them.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I'm finding it a very comfortable hook to use – previously I had one of the very thin metal type and that wasn't as comfortable at all! I hope you enjoy knitting your socks!

  9. Gillian says:

    Can I ask please, is 6ply wool double knitting wool ?

    • Winwick Mum says:

      No, 6ply is a weight between 4ply and DK (8ply) that seems to be used just for accessories. It makes a good pair of boot socks that are a little bit thicker than 4ply 🙂

  10. Anonymous says:

    And I know just what you mean about projects languishing for longer than they should! I am having to be very firm with myself, and not starting my next knitting project (a summer sweater to be knitted in BC Garn soft silk) and the next pair of socks until I've finished the tapestry kneeler top I started work on much longer ago than I'm comfortable remembering…..

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh, we start our projects with such enthusiasm and then somewhere along the way that wanes and we're distracted by the new and squishy … sadly, it looks like many of us are the same! 🙂

  11. Unknown says:

    Wanted to tell you I've ordered all 4 of your Seasons yarn – they just came in at the Woolly Thistle up in New Hampshire here in the United States. So excited – can't wait to show to daughters and let them pick which "season" they want for their pair!(As two daughters and one daughter in law, that leaves one for me, too!)

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh wow, that's amazing, thank you! I hope you all want a different season and there aren't any disputes! 🙂

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