Sunday afternoon

Hello, hello, I hope you’re having a lovely weekend!  I’m a bit later in posting this than I have been recently – I do aim for Fridays but sometimes, the weeks don’t work out like that, do they?  Anyway, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think that a blog post a couple of days later than usual is going to de-rail a world that already has enough stresses and strains, and hopefully you’ll have time for a brew and a quick read and I’ll do my best to brighten up your next few minutes! 🙂

Christmas is still marching steadily towards us and although I said that I wasn’t going to do any more Christmas gift knitting, I have found myself with a pair of socks on the needles …

A green, blue and yellow striped sock with a red Christmas tree marker sits on a table next to a grey cup of tea, a grey pottery milk jug, a tea pot and a small card with more stitch markers attached

The yarn is Marine Rainbow by The Yarn Badger – I absolutely love Liz’s hand-dyed stripes and I know just the person who will also love these colours.  Of course a Christmas sock needs a Christmas stitch marker (one of those arbitrary laws!) and as I was meeting up with yarny friends at the Stitch Station for a brew and a chat last weekend, I couldn’t resist taking a peep at what Caroline from Yarn Unique had in her Christmas selection at the cafe.  It was a lovely few hours of knitting and chatting outside of the growing madness of Christmas preparation and I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

I’ve also been doing a bit of work on my Emergency Sock … this is why you need to take it out and about with you!

A close-up of a partly knitted sock on a needle with queueing people in the background

IKEA is always a popular shop to visit and I wasn’t surprised to see a queue to get in as I drove into the car park.  I wasn’t daunted at all, though, I just whipped out my Emergency Sock bag and got in line.  Nobody batted an eyelid as I stood there and got a fair few rounds done whilst I waited in my socially distanced space until we could all shuffle forwards and in through doors.  I know there are so many people who would really benefit from getting their knitting out in a queue or a waiting room but won’t do it for fear of what other people think or might say, and I have to say that in all the years I’ve been doing this, so far I’ve never had a bad experience.  Most people are too interested in their phones or what they are doing themselves to take any notice of some woman with a knitted sock in her hands, so if you’ve been hesitant until now, perhaps 2022 is the year to be brave and take your knitting outdoors with you!  Even if it’s in your bag and you never get it out, you’ll feel as if you’ve got your backup (some would say armour!) with you and it’s surprising how good that can make you feel in all kinds of situations.

I’ve also been making really good progress on my Variance Hat.  In fact, I’ve enjoyed knitting it so much that it’s taken over a bit this last week!

A section of a knitted hat in shades of pink, blue and green.  The rib and the first section of the main hat pattern has been workedThe main section of a hat showing a flower pattern worked in shades of pink, blue and green.  A black cat is in the background looking out of a window

Before I knew it, I was at the crown and although I was delighted that my hat had knitted up so quickly, I was also quite disappointed that the experience was over so soon!

I absolutely love the way the colours work together and blend into each other.  Because there are so many shades of Jamieson & Smith yarn, it’s easier to create beautiful fades like this flower across the centre of the hat – it’s definitely made me think more about knitting a colourwork jumper in the future.

A close up of the flower pattern across the centre of the hat

These are my floats across the back of the hat.  The hat still needs blocking and shaping but that’s a job for another day.

Stranded floats of yarn across the inside of the hat

I did think that a single layer of knitting might not be quite as warm as I’d want it to be but I can see now that this hat is a double layer which should instantly be warmer, and I’ve been told that the yarn will felt together when it’s blocked which should make it warmer still.  My plan is to line it as well and I’ve bought some vintage recycled sari silk to do that with.  Not so small daughter and I have been embracing the Curly Girl Method of looking after our hair – she’s got beautiful curls and I wanted to see if my waves would do anything more with better treatment – and apparently woolly hats remove moisture from your hair (this makes perfect sense as wool does wick away moisture, hence being perfect for socks that keep your feet warm and dry!) so the answer is to line your hat with silk or satin.  I liked the idea of recycling fabric so I’m going to give it a go.  Will I be sorry to see the floats hidden beneath fabric?  Yes and no – I’ll know they’re there but I’m much less likely to catch them with a hair clip if they’re safe behind the silk.  I’ll let you know how I get on!

Also this week … I left it longer than I should have done to make an appointment to see my osteopath – I’ve been going for years to get my back checked out as I do so much sitting at the computer and of course the knitting – and something had seized up which was most uncomfortable.  Luckily for me, Hannah had a cancellation which I snapped up and she was able to put everything back to where it should be – and reminded me of all the advice that I should be taking and obviously forget as soon as I leave her treatment room!  In case you are like me and tend to sit and type or knit for far too long – and I think that’s probably many of us in these days of working from home – then I’m going to pass on her good advice in case it can help you too.

1  Don’t sit down for too long – get up every half hour or so and go to the loo or to make a brew or even just stand up and give yourself a shake.  (And in that magic way that computers have of offering you something to see that you didn’t know you wanted to watch, this video appeared in my YouTube list – it’s a TedX talk on posture and whether we should be sitting at all and is an interesting watch!)

2  Make sure that you sit upright so put your bottom to the back of your chair and sit against the support – no slouching with your feet on the coffee table whilst you knit and watch TV (ahem!)

3  If you start to get pain in your wrists or elbows, you can massage the tendon that runs along your forearm as they get over-used – hold your arm in front of you (imagine it’s in a sling) and then use your thumb to press along the tendon to help to relax it.  You’ll know if you’ve over-used it because it hurts!

Obviously all of this is first aid advice and whilst the best thing is not to get yourself into this condition in the first place, it’s always essential to seek advice from a professional if you have serious back or joint pain.

Walking is always good too when I’ve stiffened up, and the dog and I have had quite a few welly walks this week!  We’ve been to the Callands end of the Sankey Valley where work was progressing to dig out the disused section of the St Helens canal.  I showed you this photo the other week where the Sankey Brook had overflowed across the path and into the disused section …

Another view of the flooded footpath

and the decision has been made to clear the section to the right of this photo of trees and vegetation so that if there’s a surge in water again, it will flow through the new channel into the section of the canal that is currently full and able to cope with the water.  It’s a very sensible decision, I think – at the beginning of the year there was a flash flood that caused widespread flooding and damage all around this area and I think that being able to open up a channel that already exists to help reduce that risk in the future is wise.

It does look a bit bare though, now that everything has been cut down!  It doesn’t seem to have bothered the wildlife, though – if you look very closely, there’s a grey heron standing at the edge of the water in the centre of the photo.

A bit further on, you can see how the water level is rising already.  I expect it won’t be long before this looks as if it’s always been full of water.  The dog will be delighted!

Finally, before I leave you to the rest of your Sunday, some last photos.  Not so small daughter, my husband and I went to see Glow, an event at RHS Bridgewater where the trees and plants have been beautifully lit up with coloured lights.  You might have seen other versions of this type of things where you are, and we have been to others ourselves but I fancied the Bridgewater one this year.

Doesn’t the welcome building look welcoming with all the lights?

The RHS Bridgewater welcome building lit up at night

You might notice that the ground looks rather wet and oh my life, what a wet and windy night it was!  It was the tail end of Storm Barra and the rain was coming down in torrential bursts.  It was such a shame as the event would have been perfect for a frosty, sparkly evening but as it was, we marched around the gardens faster than any of us wanted to, dodging the showers as best we could but still completely soaked by the time we got back to the car.  The good news is that my new purple dog-walking coat is very waterproof, as is the new hat that my husband had to buy himself the other week when he was out and about and realised he’d forgotten his.  Ah, small victories!

Trees lit up with coloured lights

So, there we have it, last week in a nutshell or pretty much so!  I need to go and finish writing my Christmas cards (sadly, I think I have managed to lose any head start I had on my Christmas preparations) and next week is not so small daughter’s last full week in school before Christmas so there’s plenty to be squeezed in before she breaks up!

I do hope that everything is well with you and that you have a lovely week! xx


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31 Responses

  1. Karen says:

    During the first lockdown I had my sock in progress in the supermarket queue with my trolley. So many people actually wanted to talk about it that I got little knitting done!

  2. Denny Colledge says:

    Well said for continuing to encourage fellow knitters to have an “emergency sock”. I definitely recommend it. Once mine literally was an emergency sock when my husband was a medical emergency a few years ago. There was a lot of sitting about in A and E, then waiting for his tests and test results, then waiting for him to be admitted. I also knitted at visiting times while he was in hospital and eventually while waiting for his discharge. It was both a stress reliever and an ice-breaker with other people in the same situation and one of the nurses said I had inspired her to start knitting again. Hurrah!

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh, that sock really was an emergency sock and something of a sanity saver too, I expect! I’m glad your husband was OK and I hope you haven’t needed to use it in quite the same way since! xx

  3. Laura Miller says:

    Lovely post, as always. In case you get a stiff neck at any time, you can try this. Sit upright and keeping your shoulders forward and down, slowly turn you head to the left and then to the right. Note how far you’re able to turn each way before you feel resistance. Now, put your hands behind your head and interlace your fingers at the back of your head. Again, keeping your shoulders forward and down, move your eyes (but not your head) as far to the left as you can and hold for 20 seconds. Then slowly move your eyes forward, hold for 10 seconds, then move them to the right and hold for 20 seconds. Slowly move them back to centre and release your hands. Turn your head to the left and right and see if your mobility has improved. I’m now doing this at least three times a day and it’s vastly improved the tension in my neck and shoulders. Hope it’s useful. x

    • Ann Bonner says:

      Thank you Laura, between us we should all be really at ease, thanks for your suggestions. x

    • winwickmum says:

      Well that’s some kind of magic, isn’t it? That made quite an incredible difference just doing the exercise once – thank you for sharing! I am definitely going to try to do this on a regular basis, and I’m going to tell my husband how to do it as well as I know that he carries lots of tension in his neck and shoulders. Thank you! xx

  4. Ann Bonner says:

    Always love your posts and photos. Today in Sussex we have milder weather but very drab. I have started socks, 2 knitted blankets for new babies due; one being our great grandson in March, another to help my daughter as she knits slower than me. I do forget to relax until my shoulders are near my ears, oops! I do neck exercises to relieve tension when I remember. When I visit the Dr, hospital etc, I too have a bag with either crochet or knitting to do while waiting. Even if we are wearing masks or me with my visor, conversations start. Have a lovely week to all and think I must start some cards. x

    • winwickmum says:

      Thank you! I have noticed that I seem to be getting more stiff when I’m knitting these days so I definitely think that I need to make sure that I do whatever I can to release the tension – it’s funny, I think I knit to relax but I seem to be making myself more tense! 🙂 xx

  5. Susan Rayner says:

    We went to Glow at RHS Wisley on the 30th November (we had to book it late summer) – it was lovely too! So glad Bridgewater are doing it too! Alway so popular! The tips for not seizing up while knitting are hugely appreciated! Have a good week! Love the socks!

  6. Bernadette Chandler says:

    Thank you! I love your posts. I think if I did my knitting whilst in a queue, I would have all sorts of mistakes to sort out. Absolutely no skills at multitasking unfortunately. By the way I think your hat is beautiful.
    I have got so many projects on the go, but I have just bought your Carousel pattern and can’t wait to give it a go. 😊 x
    Also thank you Laura for the tip. I’m sure all knitters/ sewers would appreciate it.

    • winwickmum says:

      You have noticed that I’m knitting a plain sock in the queue, haven’t you …? 🤣 I’m not sure I’d be coping with much else myself! Thank you for buying the pattern, I hope you enjoy knitting it! xx

  7. Ruth Howard says:

    Thanks again for your newsy post – enjoy reading – nice surprise this week after a trying week my husband treated me to a magazine- I made a bee line for the knitting ones and now I am in possession of the latest Knit Now – with a free pull-out with your socks and a wire sock blocker- super happy x

    • winwickmum says:

      Ah, what a treat! Yes, they asked me about months ago and I’d forgotten all about it – magazines have to plan so far in advance! I hope you get plenty of use out of all of it! 🙂 xx

  8. Lenore says:

    I wasn’t going to knit gifts for Christmas this year but there they are …. a cast on for socks for my SIL for Christmas. I agree that we always need a pair of emergency socks. There is no better way to remain calm when waiting. I have never had a negative comment, in fact I have found they are a great icebreaker. X❤️🌺

    • winwickmum says:

      Yes, that’s how it’s always been for me too but I think we can imagine that it won’t be like that. Some people get very cross with the “Can you knit me a jumper?” or “My Grandma used to knit” comments but I think they’re just conversation starters 🙂 xx

  9. Annemarie says:

    Christine your hat is gorgeous and such pretty colours. Well done. Cannot wait to see the jumper.

  10. Emma says:

    Such a great post – as always

  11. Geraldine says:

    Lovely post, again. I used to take a sock in progress with me to hospital appointments, never know how long you will be and helps to take your mind off what you are there for!!!!
    I recently finished a pair of socks in the striped Snufferbarn yarn that you used, they became my fav sock ! Decided to wash them last week – they shrunk! (My fault!) know anyone with size 2 feet!!!!!
    Happy Christmas to you and your family. X

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh no! Can you rescue the socks? Sometimes soaking them in cool water with white vinegar can help you to stretch them to the right size again – although it does sound like they’ve become rather small! xx

  12. Geraldine says:

    PS it was Scheepjes yarn! PPS love the hat, so clever.

  13. Jo says:

    .Thank you for a year of blogs. For those of us who do not get out and about so much, for whatever reason, its like a friend having a chat (with lots of inspirational things to look at as well) so thank you Christine. Happy Christmas to you and yours

  14. Laura says:

    I always enjoy your post so much , beautiful photos and I am in love with your hat .
    Is fabulous such lovely colours . Thank you for sharing.

  15. Laraf123 says:

    I always have emergency knitting in the car. It’s great for when my children ask me to pick them up at 5 but they aren’t ready until 5:45!

  16. Well you did cheer me up with your lovely hat. The ribbing is brilliant – I have only done that once before and it drove me crazy! I also have a car yarn bag which is useful for hanging around to pick up teenagers. Happy Christmas. Jo xxx

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