Winter Haven KAL 2023 – Week 2

Hello to you!  It’s week 2 of the Winter Haven KAL already – these January weeks are already starting to tick along nicely!

Thank you to everyone who has been 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!

A partly-knitted purple striped sock with a pink cuff and heel lies on a stone hearth in front of an open fire.  Next to it is a bronze light decoration.  The words "Winter Haven KAL Week 2" are at the bottom right of the photo

No so small daughter went back to sixth form college last week so I had a few days to get used to having the house to myself again after quite a while before this full week of work and college.  Not having anyone in the house except myself to think about has certainly helped as I’ve got myself back into gear with the day job, but it’s also been a good opportunity for me to forget to have lunch because I’m busy, to try to fit far too much into a short space of time, to have hundreds of good ideas and then become overwhelmed with where to even start … knowing that I am going to be writing a KAL post to share with you each week has been immensely helpful as it’s reminded me that I don’t need to do All The Things.  You’re keeping me accountable!

I don’t know if you find the same, but as the year gets closer to Christmas and it gets busier and busier, I find that taking any time for myself becomes something that drops right down to the bottom of my list and once I’m out of that habit, I actually hit January in a bit of a free-fall.  The temptation is to keep on running, to start things afresh, to line myself up with projects and project plans and to account for every second of my time to increase productivity and … and … just the thought of it is exhausting!

This year, I am more than ready to take on the Winter Haven KAL for myself.  Usually an evening knitter, I have been encouraging myself to remember to eat lunch and to sit for half an hour with my book or my knitting.  We’re still at the time of year (certainly in the northern hemisphere) when the earth is resting.  I always used to wonder why I was never in a rush to get outside into the garden at this time of year and whether my gardening mojo had finally left me, and now I understand that it’s because the garden is resting and I should be too.  Lockdowns have shown us that we can be flexible with our work hours and if I want to listen to what my body needs and take a break in the day, the world won’t stop.

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 the posts are encouraging more people to join in who didn’t think they wanted to be part of a KAL!  Yes, of course I want the whole world to knit my socks patterns 🙂 ,  but just as important is making sure that we try to rest and recharge too, so the more people we can encourage to do that, the better!

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 4ply Socks and this year’s Basic 4ply Children’s 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, which makes it much easier to take a few moments for yourself.  If you’re new to the KAL, it started last Friday and the last post will be on Friday 27 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.

Every year, I get emails from people who say that January is a difficult month for them for a variety of reasons and now in it’s 4th year, Winter Haven KAL is a good reminder that they (and you) are not alone.  We might sit on our own in our Haven spaces but we are still connected and this is one of those time when social media in any form can actually help and we can all feel part of something bigger.  I didn’t plan the KAL like this deliberately in the beginning but I like the way that it’s worked out like this.

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 taking part in this KAL together!


🕯 My space

This year’s KAL weather is similar to last year’s in that there’s no snow here (just damp greyness – a good excuse for me to look at snowy photos and feel more seasonal!) but if anything, that feels like a better excuse to light the fire and ward off those winter chills!

A partly-knitted purple striped sock with a pink cuff and heel lies on a stone hearth in front of an open fire. Next to it is a bronze light decoration.

It’s been great to read about your cosy spaces … I’m terribly nosey and I do like to see where you sit and knit! 🙂  Would you like to see some other Winter Have spaces too?

Here’s Vanessa’s.  That looks like such a comfy armchair, and I love that she has her sock blockers hanging on the wall too!

A cosy grey arm chair with a yellow cushion in a sunlight-dappled room. The wall behind the chair is painted teal blue and there are wooden sock blockers hanging on the wall

Source: Vanessa via Facebook


Sue has chosen to knit her sock in Autumn Leaves yarn (excellent choice there, Sue! 🙂 ) and that looks like a very cosy place to be sitting – that’s a good fire you’ve got going there!  She’s knitting a Basic 4ply Sock and often, when you’ve got a good self-striping yarn, that’s all the pattern you need.

A partly-knitted sock in shades of brown, green, yellow and red balanced on a knee in front of a blazing open fire

Source: @sue_kim_p


Nancy is well set up there, working on an Easy Mosaic Sock.  I love seeing how these turn out with the mix of coloured and solid yarns, and the slip stitch pattern is easy enough to get to grips with but makes you look like a sock-knitting superstar!

A partly-drunk mug of coffee on a table next to a mosaic-pattern sock on needles

Source: @nancy_jean_briggs


Lyanne has also got everything she needs here.  She’s making a pair of Split Mittens and said that she changed where her Haven space is in the house this year – and it’s had the unexpected result of her son spending more time sitting with her than with his video game!  That definitely sounds like a win for every one!

A box of craft essentials on a table next to a potted plant, a mug of tea and a partly-knitted sock

Source: Lyanne via Facebook


And finally for this week – this photo really made me smile (and want to run a bath!) …

A partly-knitted sock in shades of brown, grey and red balanced on the side of a bath filled with water

Source: @letsjustcrochet

The caption that went along with this photo talked about fitting in rounds here and there and suddenly – there’s a sock!  I have always been a bigger fan of knitting a quick sock round rather than scrolling on my phone, and this sock is a really good example of how it works!

Thank you for showing me (and us all!) your photos – I’ll have some more for you next week!


🕯 Project

How have you been getting on with your projects?

I know that this year’s pattern, the Basic 4ply Children’s Socks, won’t be one that everyone can use but there are plenty of other Winwick Mum patterns for you to choose from.  Did you know that I’ve designed over 60 sock patterns now?  Some of them are for West Yorkshire Spinners and other places but they still count as a Winwick Mum pattern which you can use for the KAL 🙂   Until I counted them up, I hadn’t realised there were quite so many!  That’s not including shawls, cowls and mittens which you’ll also find on the Patterns and Printables page.

My project for this year is big daughter’s boyfriend’s IOU pair of socks.  Giving him the IOU so that there was no rush and he could take his time to choose the colours he wanted, and now I have the time to sit and knit without stressing that they wouldn’t be ready, these socks are a joy to knit.  Yes, they are huge – 84sts cast on and I’ve just got down to the final foot stitch count of 76sts, but they are zipping along and I love the way the colour stripes have changed slightly with the bigger rounds.  There’s quite some way to go before the toes, but I am so enjoying this easy knitting – it’s what Winter Haven KAL knitting is all about!

A partly-knitted purple and white striped sock with a pink cuff and heel lies on a wooden table next to the ball of purple yarn and a green succulent plant

Shall we have a look at some of your projects now?  Thank you so much for sharing them on social media, it’s been lovely to see them all!

To take part in the Winter Haven KAL, you just need to use Winwick Mum yarn and/or a Winwick Mum pattern and it’s been great to see your choices!


Kathy has chosen to knit the Boxy Rib Socks.  They feature a simple texture pattern to move the sock on from the Basic 4ply Socks and they’re going to look great in these colours!

A partly-knitted sock lying across the pattern with the ball of yarn

Source: Kathy via Facebook


Peter is using the Basic 4ply Children’s Socks pattern and I think these are going to fabulous socks – those colours couldn’t go together any better!

A blue sock cuff on a set of double pointed needles. The contrasting striped yarn ball is next to it. All of it is resting on a wooden table.

Source: Peter via Facebook


Vanessa has clearly been spending some lovely KAL time in her Haven space which we saw in the earlier photo – her Basic 4ply Children’s Socks are finished already!  Aren’t they cute?  The yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in the Marie Curie colourway that was produced a few years ago – I’ve got some socks in the same yarn!

A small pair of socks knitted in yellow and blue striped yarn

Source: Vanessa via Facebook


More Basic 4ply Children’s Socks … Kerry asked her little one if she wanted to choose some yarns for a pair of stripy socks and these are what Kerry has whizzed off her needles.  Great colour choices there!

A small pair of striped socks next to a heart shaped bowl of yarn oddment balls

Source: @greatballsofyarn


Caroline is using the Impressive Socks pattern for her lovely orange and yellow socks.  This is one of those patterns that really stands out when you wear your socks and I’ve seen a few pairs that Caroline has knitted in this pattern and they’ve all looked great!

A textured sock, partly-knitted, in shades of orange and yellow rests on someone's knee

Source: @craftyliney


Anne-Mette has started an Aardvarkish Shawl.  I think it’s going to look lovely in the yarn she’s chosen.  Aardvarkish is a one-skein shawl that starts off with a very large cast on but then reduces to much fewer stitches – I alway feel that shawls that increase to more stitches can be a bit daunting so I wanted to design one the other way around! 🙂

The bottom edge of knitted shawl on a long circular needle. The knitting is resting on the pattern.

Source: Anne-Mette via Facebook


Finally for this week, Bev has finished her first sock already and is ready to cast on the next one!  I do like that yarn very much!

A single blue sock resting over a pair of knees in grey trousers

Source: Bev via Facebook


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

This week, I thought I would try something new out of a book I was given – The Sweet Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer.  She’s written a range of roasting tin recipe books but this one is just for me and my sweet tooth 🙂  I decided to try out the Cranberry Almond Flapjack, a vegan recipe that I knew everyone would be able to eat.

A plate of flapjack crumbs resting on a hardback book

Er … with a spoon!

I’ve obviously managed to do something wrong as it turned out a bit more crumbly than I expected, but it actually tastes really good so I have poured it (despite my best efforts, it wasn’t coming out of the roasting tin in whole pieces!) into a storage box and I’m going to serve it with (vegan) cream as a dessert on Sunday.  It tastes a bit like a crumble so I think that will work really well.

And between now and Sunday, I can help myself to handfuls of crumbs!

What about you?  Have you had treats in your Haven spaces?  (It’s absolutely fine if you don’t want sweet treats in your Haven (or any treats at all!) because I know this time of year is one of resolutions and there’s a lot of temptation to over-indulge over Christmas!)

🕯 Something green

The little succulent plant that had been hidden away on the mantelpiece has straightened itself up this week now that it’s been out in the light a bit more.  I like seeing it out on the table again now!

A green succulent plant with pointed leaves. The photo is a top-down photo showing the leaves and the wooden table behind.

🕯 Light it up!

Ah, I am loving this diffuser ball!  I love the way it changes colour, and I’m enjoying changing the oils it’s puffing out on a regular basis as well.  I haven’t fallen out of love with my wax melts, but the novelty of this hasn’t worn off yet!

A round diffuser that looks like ball of yarn. It's glowing pink and sitting on a table next to an orange mug of tea and a succulent plant

🕯 Listen up!

What have you been listening to this week?

It’s been an accounts week in my day job so I have been listening to David Tolk; much like some people listen to Mozart or other classical music when they need to concentrate, for some reason David Tolk’s piano music focusses my brain and I can get through those receipts and spreadsheets without nearly as much procrastinating as I’d do without it.  I don’t know what it is about this music, it just seems to work for me in this way.

We’ve had his first albums – Mendham and Stories in the Sky – for absolutely years but he’s brought more music out since which is on Spotify, so it’s easy for me to set it up to play whilst I’m doing my spreadsheets.  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned David Tolk’s music on the blog before – but it’s definitely been the music for me this week!

Two CDs on a wooden table

🕯 Self-care

My self-care and exercise routine took a bit of a dive towards the end of last year so it was interesting to look at last year’s KAL post to see what I was doing in January.  I’d spent quite a lot of time last year doing Lucy Wyndham-Read‘s fitness videos which are free on YouTube and great for all abilities, but the enthusiasm for getting up early to do the workouts waned – I found I was more likely to do them before everybody else woke up, but after a while, I just wanted to hit the snooze button!

I am never going to be the person who signs up for the gym on 1 January, but I didn’t want to start the New Year in the same can’t-be-bothered-about-exercise way because I know that as we get older, it’s more important to keep ourselves fit and agile.  I started to look into what might be going wrong with my exercise motivation and what I did learn, with the help of some perimenopause-related research and my lovely osteopath (I hurt my back in August whilst trying to pick our large and highly resistant dog up off the ground in motorway service station car park – don’t ask!) is that I don’t think I have been getting enough sleep (which is never good for anybody’s motivation, exercise-related or not!) and I’ve also been sleeping on my side in a way that twists my back which is why it often hurts.

I made the decision that I needed to work on my back strength and flexibility, so over Christmas I returned to the Roger Frampton book that I started using last year.  I found his online workouts and whilst they’re not free, the monthly payment is far less than I’d pay at a gym so is actually quite reasonable – as long as I actually do them, because otherwise it’s a very expensive way to do nothing!

I was reminded reading last year’s post that I set up my menu plan for the month in January and this is one thing that I’ve stuck at pretty well.  I’ve been doing it weekly more recently and that’s been fine so I’ll probably continue to do that for now, but it does make such a difference knowing what we’re going to eat in advance when I go to the supermarket.

We’re a different family shape now during the week than we were this time last year as big daughter doesn’t live here now but has her own place with her boyfriend, but she comes over at the weekend.  Not so small daughter is often out seeing her friends so sometimes, it’s just me if my husband is working late – which makes it all the more important that I do plan something to eat otherwise there’s a good chance that I’ll forget!

I’ve put my non-fiction book to one side this week and I’ve gone back to Murder Before Evensong by The Reverend Richard Coles (Amazon link).

A hardback book called Murder Before Evensong by The Reverend Richard Coles in front of an open fire with cosy lights in the background

It’s still not gripping me.  Have you read this book?  I always feel as if I’m letting someone down when the cover testimonials talk about what a wonderful book it is and I am not feeling the same.  I’ll keep going, I might suddenly be gripped 🙂


🕯 Thank you

This week, I’ve been grateful to be able to get out and about with the dog – for the most part, we’ve been able to miss the rain and I’ve had a friend walking with me this week too as she’s been off work and has fancied some fresh air.  I think she might have got a bit more fresh air than she bargained for one morning as the rain came in sideways and the wind howled around us, but luckily, we didn’t dissolve and the rain eased off before too long.

You can see how much rain we’ve had lately by the height of the brook.  The dog and I went to up the Nine Arches yesterday – we’ve not been there for quite some time – and I kept him well away from that water!

A view from a bridge over a swollen brook. The water looks very dark but the sky is blue

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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17 Responses

  1. Sue Geen says:

    re the Richard Cole book. I listened to him reading it on audible. it was great hearing him read it, it made all the “vicary” things more relateable!

  2. Geeha says:

    my arthritis and post Covid brain fog is playing up so I’ve modified the ABC cowl to DK magic loop as it’s all I can cope with at present. You made me feel less inadequate as the only flapjack I can get to stick together is the traditional oats/syrup/sugar/margarine version I’ve known since the 1950s. Thank you for encouraging a positive mindframe when so much of the world is in a dark place

  3. Tineke says:

    I love working out with shellea of fabulous 50 after an operation I wasn’t allowed much movement, as she does easy exercise with great effect. You can take a look on YouTube. She is very motivating. After a while, I could pick up my heavy workouts again thanks to her. Love to hear your motivation to do spreadsheets with David Tolk. Those little knitting corners, oh my, so cozy. I never knitted in bath though XD

  4. Susan Rayner says:

    I know that we like some of the same books and I have to say I was disappointed with Richard Coles’ book – too much as though he was trying to imitate other authors who have written this sort of book and has’t quite got there! A genre I normally love!
    I have just read Jack Cartwright’s first book of Fenland Murders – Secrets in Blood and not totally gripped but have ordered some more just in case – and am enjoying the daft world of the Marlow Murder Mystery Club’s second outing Death Comes to Marlow – by Robert Thorogood of Death in Paradise fame!
    I am loving seeing peoples KAL Havens and projects – so cheering during a horrid wet and cold January – Surrey is drowing in places!
    Looking forward to more of the same to keep me cheered up!
    I am knitting an Arran cardigan! So having to concentrate!

  5. Caroline Partridge says:

    I am loving the idea of this KAL Christine and it really helps me to prioritise myself and feel the calmness whilst knitting . I hope I will associate the month of January always with your KAL from now .Glad my bathtime photo caused a smile and thank you for including my photo . Caroline

  6. Julie Sibson says:

    i’m halfway through the Richard Coles book and am disappointed with it too. i’ll persevere with it till the end, but certainly wont be reading his next one!

  7. ChrisG says:

    I’m another Surrey knitter and like Sue loving my Haven indoors away from the rain, but there were some peeps of sun with even a touch of warmth on the face when I was on campus this week. My Easy Lace shorties are coming along – 1 at the toes now (size 7 for my son’s gf) but my scrappy sock for me has gone wrong – at some point way back I forgot I had more gusset decreases to do and have now got to the toe and discovered I have 10 too many stitches 😣 ah well, the weekend beckons!

  8. Jan says:

    As a long-time knitter (off and on but not consecutively since 1963!!!) and an avid Anglophile, I LOVE your posts so much even though I’ve been on a knitting hiatus for almost 2 years due to a shoulder issue. I’ve had the shoulder replaced and PT is over. I’ve moved my project bag to my favorite chair and am getting up the nerve to start work on an almost finished Cowl again. I’ll pretend that I’m part of your Winter Haven knit along. I’m not using your yard nor one of your patterns but do have a cozy spot with a plant, good music and my book close by……alas no fireplace though. I’m in coastal Connecticut, USA, where the weather is much like you describe…gray, drizzly and blah, blah, blah. In the past it snowed here in January but those times seem to be over.

  9. Kath says:

    What a lovely cosy post! I LOVE the seeing the photos of everyone’s projects. I have my space all set up in the conservatory and am working hard on giving myself permission to use it….I find daytime relaxation hard, though I do enjoy knitting in front of the tv in the evening. I am usually so tired by then that I nod off mid round!

    I too found the Richard Coles book disappointing, I find it difficult to engage with his style of writing. I have put it away for the time being.

    I am almost at the toe of my second cable sock in the autumn WYS yarn,
    today’s resolution is to use my space and watch the birds while I finish my sock!

  10. Helen says:

    Hello, I’m fed up of grey, wet weather. We’ve been ordered back to the office twice a week (we’d decided the previous instruction was optional), I spent all of Tuesday in cold, wet boots. Horrible!

    My Frosted Ice sock is moving slowly! But my basic sock is now on the gusset.

    Think it might be a day for knitting and the fire – too wet again.

  11. Nicola says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post. It is good to remember not to be blown along with the business of life. I have just finished knitting identical jumpers for my granddaughters. Now I need to finish the socks I began a while ago! They are the Christmas Robin ones

  12. Christine says:

    I love reading about your Winter haven. Mine has been the sofa with my laptop catching up on vlogs as I didn’t have time over Christmas then we were without internet for nearly 2 weeks. My sock knitting is the Ryegrass pattern using WYS Winwick mum Spring green and WYS Milk bottle as contrast. I did struggle when I got to the gusset and it took me a while to understand where the contrast and main colour should be but I got there in the end and off I went. I will try and get a photo on instagram. I’m reading The Friends We Keep by Jane Green. Took me a while to get into it as it is quite a light read especially after reading a pre copy of My Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor. This was a very descriptive book rather like the writing of John le Carre not my usual read but it is based on a true story in WWII of people helping escaped soldiers out of Rome.

  13. Jane Winter says:

    Thank you for your post; I enjoyed reading it. I started reading Richard Coles’ book before Christmas and haven’t finished it as, like you, I just haven’t found it very gripping.

  14. Selina Baihn says:

    making good progress with my Easy Cable sock, halfway through the gusset now.
    it’s good to take a break inbetween jobs & a few rows of knitting is just the thing; i’m also having a go at patchwork (sewing) which i’m enjoying
    thanx for sharing

  15. Lorraine says:

    Hello Christine I’m just casting on Hansel socks and reading the pattern, I’m not sure if I’m misreading it on the picture it looks like rib at the top and then the cables are just across the front and back but leaving plain knitting down the side but on the pattern I can see rib all the way down which is different to the pic

    Would you mind helping me please thank you so much x

  16. Linda Henderson says:

    I wanted to love the Richard Coles book but like you (and others who’ve commented) I was disappointed with it. I’ve read some of his non-fiction and The Madness of Grief, in particular, is brilliant.

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