Back to school week

Hello hello, how are you doing?  Another week has flown past, hasn’t it?

Thank you for taking the time to comment on last week’s post on avoiding colour pooling and flashing both here and on social media – I do love to know what you think and that someone other than me is reading my posts! 🙂

Not so small daughter was back at school this week, much to her disgust as she really likes hanging about in her pyjamas, and it’s meant that the dog and I are back to our regular morning walk routine.  Hooray!  I find it much easier to get up and out for a walk when there’s a reason to leave the house rather than try to schedule a dog walk in some time during the day (OK, you’ve got me, I quite like hanging about in my pyjamas too! 🙂 ).  It’s also been unseasonably warm over the last few days – the Indian Summer that everyone wishes for at this time of year – and it’s been just too hot for him to be out later in the day so we’ve been getting our walkies in before the sun rises too high in the sky.

This week, we’ve been back to the Nine Arches in Earlestown, part of the Sankey Valley.

A shale footpath leads towards a brick arched railway viaduct. The sun is shining through the trees and the sky is blue with wispy clouds. To the right is an overgrown patch of grass, filled with wildflower seedheads

This is the same place in July (taken just a bit further over from the other path)

A mown grassy path between wildflower verges leading towards a brick railway viaduct

The photos will have been taken around the same time of day but look at the difference in the light!  The sun was much lower in today’s photo and although the air hasn’t quite got that Autumn smell about it yet (I expect that will come in the next few days), it was quite obvious when we were out that the Summer is coming to an end.

We followed the path towards the canal and I got such a surprise when we saw the water!

A shale footpath leading along the side of a disused canal. The path and canal are bordered by bushes and trees. The surface of the water has a rainbow sheen.

Can you see it?  There’s a rainbow across the surface of the water.  I’ve never seen anything like that before!

A closer image of the rainbow across the water.

There was a fisherman a bit further along the path so naturally I wanted to interrogate ask him what was going on with the water.  I’ve seen it covered in green duckweed before, but the surface was completely clear apart from the rainbow sheen.  In fact, I only saw one duck, a young coot, which was making its way across to the other bank, squeaking loudly as it was going.

“It’s some kind of oil in the water,” said the fisherman.  “I think it’s always there but you don’t usually see it.”

I peered into the water and sure enough, there was a film of oil just underneath the surface.

A film of oil underneath the surface of the water

No, I have no idea what that long thing is that looks like a creature!

We talked some more about where the oil might have come from but couldn’t think of an answer so the dog and I walked on.  The rainbow was in the next section of water too.  Very strange, eh?  Have you ever seen anything like this?

A rainbow sheen on the surface of the canal water. A shale footpath runs along the right hand side of the footpath and there are trees lining the canal on the left hand side

Back home, the dog has spent the afternoon sunning himself after needing a bath – he didn’t go into the rainbow water but did go into the brook on the other side of the path and he was a bit stinky!

I’ve been making the most of the sunshine by taking myself outdoors with a new cast on.  Ooh, before I tell you about that, let me show you the Scheepjes socks that I was making which are finished now and in my sock drawer.

A pair of purple, grey, blue and pink socks with pink cuffs, heels and toes are being worn on a pair of feet. The model is sitting across a wooden garden bench with her feet crossed at the ankles

Aren’t those stripes lovely?  I’m really pleased with the way the socks have turned out and have forgiven the yarn for being a bit splitty.  If you love super-soft socks, this merino/nylon blend might be a yarn for you to try out – the stripes are Scheepjes Downtown in shade South Hill and the pink is Scheepjes Metropolis in shade Jaipur.  I’m looking forward to wearing them now, and I’ll keep you posted on how they wear.  I’ve used heel stitch on the heel flap as usual, plus the heel turn and the toes as I know that’s where I’m likely to wear the socks through.  If this isn’t something that you’ve tried before, there’s a tutorial for reinforcing heels, soles and toes here on the blog.

I didn’t really need to cast on yet another sock.  I’ve got more than a few WIPs that need finishing off (in fact, I’ve just remember another pair that I have finished but I’ll show you those another time).  What set me off, though, is the fact that I’ve got some new patterns to show you and I just wanted to cast one on for myself!

A skein of pink yarn lies across a knitting pattern on a wooden garden table next to a glass of lemonade

This pattern is Carousel Socks, and it was first published in Knit Now magazine way back in 2019.  You might have seen it since on Yarn Lane TV and Craftworld but I decided it was high time that it should go on my patterns page too!  It’s not going to be a free pattern as it’s already been published for sale and I don’t think it’s fair to give it away when someone has already paid for it.

The yarn is a hand-dyed skein that I bought recently from The Fibre Fox.  It’s another merino/nylon blend and the shade is Clematis.  It’s so pretty, lots of different shades of pink, and I thought it would be perfect for the Carousel pattern which has a lace panel at the top and decrease stitches all the way down the foot that look like the columns of those fairground carousels with painted horses that you still see from time to time.  I don’t usually get the chance to go back and re-knit my patterns (with the exception of the Basic 4ply Socks) so I’m looking forward to it very much!

I’ll tell you more about the pattern and the others that will be going on sale with it – there will be five patterns in total – next Friday (17 September 2021) but the reason I wanted to mention it now (apart from showing you my pretty skein) is because I’ll have a special 15% discount code for blog subscribers so if you’re not on the list and you’d like to be, you can sign up here!  You’ll get an email whenever I have a new blog post out and occasional extra emails like this discount code which I’ll send to you on Friday when the patterns are available but that’s it – definitely no spam!  If you do sign up, you’ll need to confirm your email (oh, the joys of GDPR!) so do check your spam folder for that email – and of course if you’re a new subscriber you’ll get the Kitchener Stitch guide too.  If you signed up previously and don’t think you ever got the confirmation email, please check your spam folder or drop me an email and I can check your address and re-send it to you.

Ooh, as much as I’m missing having not so small daughter around (I’m not missing falling over her as she sprawls across the kitchen floor which seems to be her favourite place to watch Tik Tok videos on her phone), I am enjoying getting myself back into a routine again.  I do love not having to put the alarm on at night to wake up at some unearthly hour, but I am much more productive in my day if I get myself out and about from early on.

I’ve got quite a lot to catch up on with the blog – I’ve realised that I took lots of photos of the garden over the Summer but didn’t post them – so I’m going to try to do that too.  I’ve come to appreciate being able to look back over the posts very much!

Before I go, I’ve just got one more thing to show you.  Victoria from D19EcoFriendlyLife, who created my Winwick Mum sock blockers asked me if I would like to try out one of her knitting organiser boxes.  I’d seen these on Instagram and thought they were a great idea so I jumped at the offer!  Thanks, Victoria!

A square wooden knitting box containing four coloured balls of yarn. There are holes and curves cut into the front of the box for threading yarn through for colourwork. The name "Christine" is burnt onto the box and there are compartments on each side for accessories

It’s a pretty nifty knitting box, isn’t it?  I can be quite an untidy knitter with balls of yarn and accessories all over the place, but this box is a good size to fit everything in.  It stands 20.5cm high and the internal box is 21x21cm.  It’s made of sturdy plywood (it was delivered in one piece so it must be!) and is already put together so you can start using it straight away.  There are two sections on the sides, one with two slots and the other with three slots, ideal for needles, scissors, pens and pencils … whatever you need in your kit!

Looking into the box from above showing the four balls of yarn and the compartment on the left

Looking into the box from above showing the four balls of yarn and the compartment on the left

Cut into the front of the box are holes to help you organise your yarn for colourwork and also just to keep your yarn safe in the box whilst you knit.  There’s a lid to cover everything up when you’re done (perfect for those of us who are not so tidy with our knitting!) and you can have your name on the box too!

The wooden knitting box with a lid on to keep everything contained

If you’d like a box of your own, the code WINWICK10 will get you 10% off and you can have a look at Victoria’s boxes, sock blockers and more through her Instagram account and her Etsy shop.


Right, I think that’s me for today!  I hope you have a lovely weekend and that the weather is just right for whatever it is you are doing.  I’ll see you next week! xx

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20 Responses

  1. Surprised to see your post this morning. Enjoyed.

  2. We get a rainbow oil slick from time to time on the surface of the canal, it comes from leaked engine fuel from the canal boats which is a bit nasty for the environment and the wildlife but agree it does look pretty!xx

    • winwickmum says:

      I don’t know where this has come from as there aren’t any boats in this section of the canal as it’s disused, but hopefully it’s not something that’s causing an environmental disaster! xx

      • Lynn Chivers says:

        Great to read your blog, as always. We used to get a rainbow of oil on our garden pond after aircraft jettisoned spare fuel en route to Manchester Airport. Maybe this happened over the canal.

  3. Ruth says:

    Hi Christine! That was a lovely long blog post! My days of getting up for children are long past, but I remember that feeling of freedom in the long holidays and then the mixture of emotions when they went back to school. We all need a bit of structure in our lives I think!
    The rainbow water looks pretty ( I’ve seen it in puddles, probably where a car has leaked oil) but I wonder if some oil was thrown in the river .
    I love the colour of that sock yarn, it’s going to look so pretty x

    • winwickmum says:

      Ah, some days you get all the blether! 🙂 I find it quite hard to get enough of the things that I need to done in the day without structure so I’m quite glad that we’re back to a routine again. I’m really enjoying the sock yarn, it really is a pretty colour! 🙂 xx

  4. Ruth says:

    Thanks Christine- always love your posts – love the box too – what a fabulous idea – I have just found a big basket to put my yarn in as I am making up a blanket kit I had for my birthday last year after having my knuckles wrapped by my daughter- but really enjoying making a motif a night between knitting a short jumper for no 1 granddaughter and don’t faint purple mix socks – my husband is begging for them !!! – thought they were for me but it is what we wives do!!!!
    Enjoy your dog walks too – I think it is the oil that makes a rainbow as you see on wet roads sometimes ! – interesting all the same and makes a good photo
    Thanks again
    Love Ruth x

    • winwickmum says:

      Yes, the fisherman said he thought it was oil which is a bit of a worry when there are fish in the water but I’m sure someone is on the case to find out what it is! In the meantime, it’s another good reason for me not to paddle in there! A basket is the perfect place to store blanket squares and I hope you’re getting on with it very well. Your husband is clearly a man of good taste – who doesn’t want purple mix socks in their drawer?!- and I’m sure you can make another pair for yourself sometime 🙂 xx

  5. Margaret Longden says:

    Always a joy to have one of your easy-to-identify-with posts to read, Christine! My hands have become a little stiffer over the last year or so, so that sock knitting has to be limited, but oh the joy of having learnt how to do it from your excellent tutorials. I just knit up the odd “top-up” pair now, fairly slowly, but I still have a good drawer full of foot warming bliss!

    • winwickmum says:

      I’m glad you can still manage to top up your pairs! I’m about to go on a virtual knitting belt workshop (next week) which apparently is good for people who have issues with their joints so I’ll be sure to write a post afterwards so you can see what you think! 🙂 xx

  6. Paula Middleton says:

    I always look forward to your blogs. Always a nice surprise to see it in my mailbox. I have my first cup of coffee and read what you have been up to and the weather over there.

  7. Irune says:

    What a lovely box! I’ll have a look…

  8. Mary says:

    Lucky me who has a husband who rises early! We are retired and don’t set the alarm but old habits die hard I suppose. I love to get up early and get all my jobs done, a quick swim at lunchtime and then the afternoon is free for knitting and crochet! With the days growing shorter I know this will be my winter routine so am always interested to see what ideas you come up with! Absolutely love your blog!xx

  9. Sarah Murray says:

    I’m loving the yarn box, never seen anything like this. It will solve my circular needle storage problem 🙂

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