Winter Haven KAL 2023 – Week 4

It’s 27 January – the month is almost over!  This is the last of the posts for this year’s Winter Haven KAL; I hope the weeks have passed well for you and that you are ready to welcome February next week.

For the last few years, I’ve found myself continuing some of the things that I started doing during the KAL (knit-a-long – I was asked about this last week and forgot that there are still people joining us who don’t know what the abbreviation stands for – sorry!) and I know that I’ll be doing that again this year.  Aside from the fact that I am often to be found with yarn and needles in my hands, it tends to be the self-care things that stay with me for some time to come, and I find it a really useful and interesting experience during the January weeks when I’m writing these posts to think of ways that I can look after myself better.


🕯 My space

The fire will still be lit in our house for some time to come – any excuse and I’m there warming myself in front of the flames!  It’s not spring yet and even when it is, there’s always the chance of frost and even snow until around May time so there will be matches and firelighters at the ready!  Our house can be quite draughty at times (despite my best efforts with an infrared thermometer and draught excluders) and the warmth of the fire is something of a magnet; it’s not uncommon for me to find someone in “my place” by the time I get to sit down!

A brightly coloured crochet ripple blanket on a brown leather rocking chair. There is a book resting on the blanket

I hope that you will be able to keep your Haven spaces going after the KAL has finished; having somewhere to retreat to so that you can have a few minutes to yourself is something that I have realised is very important, but it is also something that can be very portable so you can have a Haven space anywhere!

Here’s a last look at some of your super-cosy Winter Haven spaces …


Left: Fiona emailed to say her Haven space is a cool one as it’s a hot summer in Australia!
Right: @marly_rylaars is a quilter as well, as you can see from the beautiful quilts in her Haven space


Left: Ruth (email) has a wonderful light space with all of her candles
Right: Jan (email) is set up next to the window with everything she needs right next to her


Left: Maha (Facebook) is definitely in her Winter Haven space with all of that snow!
Right: @lollyball1 looks super-cosy with her lights and chunky socks


🕯 Project

I haven’t finished the Ginormous socks, although that may not be a surprise.  One is done and I’m at the heel of the second; I’m really pleased with the progress I’ve made on them and there’s a good chance they’re going to be finished ready for gifting next week as I am still in my Winter Haven KAL headspace so am making sure that there is time in my day for me to sit and knit.

Don’t worry if you’re in the same situation – there is no deadline for finishing anything at the end of this KAL and I think we’re going to be glad of our projects, both new and ongoing, and our cosy spaces for a while longer yet.

A partly-knitted purple striped sock with a pink cuff sits on a wooden table next to a ball of purple striped yarn and a completed sock in the same colours. A small plant in a ceramic pot sits behind the knitting

Here’s how you’ve been getting on with your projects …


Top left: @angiequilts is knitting socks for her granddaughter;

Top right: @knittinginthe852 is celebrating Chinese New Year with shades of blue;

Bottom left: @craftyrabbithole has finished this pair of watermelon socks – her 29th pair!

Bottom right: @kay.archer2 has knitted these lovely socks in a hand-dyed Christmas yarn


Top left: Anne-Mette (Facebook) has been working on a pair of Rainbow Zig Zag socks;

Top right: Jan (email) is knitting a pair of Sanctuary Socks;

Bottom left: Liz (email) is super-proud of her finished socks and so she should be!

Bottom right: Michelle (email) hasn’t been knitting socks long but is already knitting beautiful Easy Cable socks!


Top left: Peter (Facebook) has been wrestling with DPNs and a broken needle but is still making good progress!

Top right: Anne (email) has used the Easy Lace socks pattern for these bright toe up socks;

Bottom left: Petrina (Facebook) has finished her Blitzen socks;

Bottom right: Ruth (email) has finished a pair of Easy Mosaic socks for a friend’s birthday


@midgeporterdesign has finished one pair of socks and has been working on a pair of scrappy socks for daughter using all of her leftover yarns.  Don’t they look great?


So many projects, it’s been wonderful to see them all again!  I’m going to write a round up post next week and I’ll cram as many photos into that as I can so do keep posting your photos, I love to see them!


🕯 This week’s recipe

I spotted this biscuit recipe (The Famous 100 Cookie Recipe) in my Winwick Mum Knit n Natter Facebook group when I was scrolling through posts the other day (someone had asked about using up condensed milk and this recipe was in the comments) and I thought I’d give it a go.  I am a bit of a sucker for a new biscuit recipe and I do like trying new ones out.  This one apparently makes 100 biscuits, which I thought might be a few too many for us, so at the risk of wasting some of the can of condensed milk that I found in the cupboard, I reduced the amounts.

This is what the biscuits (cookies) look like on the website photo …



and this is what came out of my oven …

A plate of biscuits that look like rock cakes!

Oh, it did make me laugh!

I reduced the recipe to a quarter of the amount but must have done something wrong when I was weighing the ingredients out as I found myself with a huge bowl full of dry mix with nothing to bind it together.  I ended up pouring ordinary milk in (these biscuits are made with condensed milk) and it did eventually look like the photo in the recipe, but as you can see, I still didn’t get it quite right! 🙂

They do taste OK, even if they look like rock cakes.  There is a ridiculous amount of mixture left (far more than for 25 biscuits) so I’ve put it in the freezer and I’ll have a go at making more professional-looking biscuits another day!

🕯 Something green

My carnations from last week are still going strong, and the small succulent that I brought out from behind all the Christmas cards at the beginning of the month is looking much healthier too.

Carnations in shades of pale and deep pink in glass vase. The photo is taken from above, looking down on to the flowers A small green succulent with pointed leaves in a ceramic pot on a wooden table

I really like this variety of succulent but don’t seem to have much success in keeping them alive, so I’m very glad that this one has at least lasted the length of the KAL!


🕯 Light it up!

Oh, I’ve had it all going on this week!  My wax melt burner, my ball of yarn diffuser … I’ve been taking it in turns to light them both up and it’s been great!

A colour-changing oil diffuser glows pinkA wax melt burner with flower-shaped motifs around the side stands on a stone hearth in front of an open fire

The Winter Haven KAL has been instrumental for me in making sure that there’s always a nice smell in the house; I’ve got a couple of melt burners in different rooms and they always get lit whenever the room is occupied.  I have really enjoyed my winter smells whilst I’ve been sitting in my Haven space and as the nights get lighter, I’m starting to think about lighter scents too.  I hadn’t paid much attention to co-ordinating the scents in the house to the seasons before, but it’s something that I definitely do!


🕯 Listen up!

Last weekend, my husband and I went out to Liverpool to listen to Martyn Joseph in concert.   He’s a singer whose music we’ve listened to for many years and whom we’ve seen in concert a few times but not for quite a while.  We had such a lovely night out and this week, I’ve been digging out our Martyn Joseph CDs and playing our new vinyl record, and remembering how much I enjoy this music.

A selection of CDs and a vinyl record spread out across a red rug

It’s funny how you don’t forget music, isn’t it?  As I’ve been playing these CDs, I’ve remembered the words to the songs I’ve known but not played for years, where we were when we used to listen to them, even when and where we bought the CDs and often, it’s longer ago than I think should be allowed.  I tell people that my “showbiz age” is 28 and that’s where I am in my head … the mirror tells a different story, of course, and everything is longer ago than you like to think (especially as we’ve all lost a couple of years to lockdowns).  I’ve found it both comforting and comfortable to hear the familiar songs and it has made me happy to sit in my Haven Space and listen.


🕯 Self-care

There’s been a giant step for Christine this week in my self-care as I have changed how I am planning my time yet again.  Well, not so much how I am planning my time as I am doing pretty well with that these days, but one of the things that my husband and I started doing last year was looking at his diary to make sure that he wasn’t over-booking himself.  It’s an easy thing to do when you work for yourself and you put appointments in “on the hoof” sometimes, and we’ve found that by me looking at his calendar for three weeks ahead with him, it gives us a good overview of what he’s doing and where he’s expected to be, and we can make sure that his days and appointments are balanced – an impartial eye is just the thing sometimes and it’s helped enormously.

At the weekend, he suggested that he should cast an impartial eye over my calendar to see if that would help me balance my days better.  At first, I wasn’t sure that he would be able to help much as my calendar isn’t as busy as his, but we decided to give it a go … and oh my life!  It has much such a difference to my week!

An open planner showing a blank page spread. There's a black pencil lying across the pages

One thing my husband is particularly good at is knowing how long things are likely to take, so he’s been able to say, “why not block that amount of time out there for writing your blog post?” or “use that hour there for your emails” whereas I would be much more likely to wing it and then still be working at 5pm whilst I’m trying to start dinner at the same time.  He has encouraged me to be much more disciplined about stopping if something isn’t finished, and to have a definite cut-off time when the laptop is closed and my working day has ended, and I’ve found that even if the blog post isn’t finished today, there’s time tomorrow and it’s been quite a revelation!  As he says, the idea of stopping at a given time isn’t new to me; I had to stop when I worked in an office, but it certainly becomes harder when you work at home – and scheduling creative time is probably the most difficult thing I’ve tried to do.  It’s not so easy to be creative on demand so the boundaries of work and home time have been blurred for many years.

We’re only a week in but so far, it has felt like a much calmer and more productive week and I am grateful for that.  I’m still using my Circle Planner (affiliate link) and the layout of this one suits me so this is the fourth one I’ve bought, but we also use the free Google calendar so that we can see family events as well.  Better planned out time is definitely one thing that I want to continue after the Winter Haven KAL has finished!

What I have also done and I consider this to be a HUGE act of self-care for myself is to keep my phone on Do Not Disturb.  I’ve actually been doing this for a while, it’s not something I started just for the KAL but I have appreciated it whilst I’ve been having my calm and cosy moments as I’ve not been disturbed by my phone pinging all the time.

A screenshot of a phone screen showing do not disturb settings

Turning notifications off is another good way to stop the pinging, but I have found that I prefer to use Do Not Disturb then the pinging stops but I can still see any notifications when I choose to look at my phone.  I don’t know about you, but I realised that as soon as my phone beeps, I feel like I have to check it straight away and sometimes it’s not that convenient to get caught up in whatever it is.

I did worry that using this function would mean that I’d miss important phone calls, but then I discovered that you can set it up so that your favourite contacts can still get through and that if the same number calls a few times, it will get through as well (you know, that “if it’s important, they’ll call back” thing!).

A screenshot of a phone screen showing do not disturb settings

Now, I just check my phone when I’m ready.  I am still replying to messages and emails but I’m doing it when I’ve got time to think about it and not whenever the phone pings and I am definitely feeling the benefit of not being at the beck and call of my phone!


🕯 Thank you

Thank YOU for still being here with me at the end of the month!

It’s been so good to share these January weeks with you again this year, and I hope that whether you’ve been hot or cold in your Haven spaces, you’ve been able to take some time out to do things that make you feel calm and rested.

Thinking about what I’ve been grateful for during the last month has inspired me to take a step further in some situations than just write in my little book – I’ve started sending hand-written thank you notes to people again.  I say again, as it’s something that I used to do but not for quite some time; as a child I was encouraged to write thank you notes for presents and I still wrote them when I was older, but now that we have phones and email as part of everyday life, I realised that I very rarely send anything hand-written now unless it’s a birthday card.  I thought about how nice it is to read Christmas cards that come with an extra bit of news and how most of the mail that lands on our doormat is bills or catalogues, and I thought that I would like to send something to other people sometimes that wasn’t a bill or a catalogue.

I had a few blank notecards around in drawers and cupboards so I gathered them all up and put them in a box which had been a Christmas gift containing bath products.  I liked the words on the lid …

Gold words printed on a blue box lid. They read "Happiness can be found in the smallest of things"

and I found that I had more than I thought.

A selection of notecards in a box

I was able to send a few cards straight away and I’ve got to say, once you’ve got the choice to write a thank you card rather than having to do it when you’d rather be playing with your toys (as was always the case when I was little), it’s a joyful thing and I really enjoyed it.  Just a small thing, but it has made me very happy!


Thank you for taking the time to send me your emails and photos, and for tagging me into your social media posts.  It’s been great to see so many Winter Haven KAL posts out and about, and I’ve loved seeing all of your projects too.

Thank you too, to everyone who has bought me a brew (the donation button is in the left hand side bar in case you wondered how they did it 🙂 ), bought a copy of my books or a Winwick Mum Sockalong badge; your support means a great deal!


I’m going to write a round-up post again as I have done for the last couple of years and I’ll post that next week.  I’d love you to be part of the post with me, so if there’s anything you’d like to show – finished projects, part-finished projects – or you’d like to share, please get in touch so that I can include you!

Don’t forget that the social media hashtag is #WinterHavenKAL, so you’ll still be able to see posts on Instagram and Facebook if you’re a social media user, and you can get hold of me through email as well.

I hope you have a wonderful week in your Winter Haven – see you next Friday for the round up! xx



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22 Responses

  1. Sarah Murray says:

    Though I have not joined the Winter Haven KAL, it has been a thoroughly enjoyable read. Thank you, and maybe next year I will have time to join in. I had to laugh at your cookies. I’m not sure if it is the knitter in me but they sort of remind me of sheep 🙂 Sarah xxx

  2. Lisa Earnesty says:

    I love seeing every bodies progress. Thank you for the KAL. I am participating with the first sock past the heel. I am a slow knitter, but a proud knitter.

  3. Sheila Wilson says:

    I’ve not joined in the Winter KAL this mainly because I’ve lost my mojo. After a particularly stressful year last year I’m taking some time for myself and the other half. I have enjoyed your blog posts and seeing everyone elses beautiful makes though.

    • winwickmum says:

      And that might have been all you needed this year. Sometimes, our mojo for anything leaves us and the more we worry about it, the less likely it is to return. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the posts and seeing the photos, and I hope that this year is less stressful for you xx

  4. Christine K says:

    I haven’t had a haven as such but have spent a while most days working on my Rye Grass socks. I had a break for the second one as I had a few WIPs that needed attention. One being a C2C Crochet blanket for a local charity. I needed help with the decreases and wanted to finish whilst it was fresh in my mind. But sock 2 is now definitely started and half way to the heel. I will continue with a few pattern repeats every day. I love a handwritten letter or card. As you said always more personal than a text or email. Unfortunately as the cost of postage goes up I feel this will become a thing of the past 🙁

    • winwickmum says:

      I did think that the postage going up would be a reason not to send notes, but then I thought that I bought stamps for Christmas cards for people that I don’t hear from or see from one year to the next, and the cards are so that the line of communication isn’t lost forever. I figured that I could afford to buy the odd stamp to send a card to someone that I had spent time with during the year and it still probably wouldn’t be as much as I’d spent at Christmas, but I would enjoy sending it and hopefully they would enjoy seeing the card on the mat! 🙂 xx

  5. Lenore says:

    Great to read all is well in your cosy corner of the world. Xx❤️🌺

  6. Gillian says:

    Loved reading about the KAL. I have been knitting socks, in fact 2 pairs on the go at the moment ! Went into our local wool shop yesterday with a sock knitting friend and we HAD to buy another ball of sock wool. 🙄 xxx

  7. Susan Rayner says:

    It has been lovely seeing all the projects and Winter Haven spaces over the past four weeks – I may not have officially joined in – I did knit a Betwixtmas cardigan during the same period – inspired by Sara at Black Sheep Wools and her Betwixtmas projects.
    The days are getting longer and even if it is still very cold – spring is on it’s way – I have daffodils, snowdrops, primroses and hellebores in flower in the garden – litle pockets of loveliness!
    Wishing everyone a lovely weekend. Keep warm!

    • winwickmum says:

      Those Betwixtmas shawls are quite the institution now, aren’t they? I hope you enjoyed knitting it (or crocheting? I think there are two versions). It’s been lovely to have you along during January, and yes, you’re right, the flowers are starting to show now which is so good to see! 🙂 xx

  8. Helen says:

    I had to go to the office yesterday, new 2-day rule 🙁 It was made nicer having the blog to start whilst looking out at the sheep. The office is in the middle of nowhere. It’s very pretty but over an hour each way sadly.

    I’ve enjoyed reading each post and knitting my basic sock and my Frosted Ice sock cosy by the fire.

    Thank you Christine x

    • winwickmum says:

      That’s a long drive, and I hope you’ve found a good podcast or radio programme to keep you company! I hope you’ve got on really well with your socks, they were looking fabulous during the KAL! 🙂 xx

  9. Jody Schoneck says:

    I love reading your posts. As an avid sock knitter it’s fun to see others doing the same. One problem, sometimes a finished sock unravels at the two when wearing, even though I tie a few times, and weave the tail up and down. Do I add a dap of glue?? Please help

    • winwickmum says:

      That’s a determined yarn end to unravel! How long a tail do you weave in? The longer the tail, the more difficult it is for it come back out again, especially once the socks have been worn and washed a few times as the yarn should felt into the fabric of the sock. I usually put a stitch in at the end of the Kitchener Stitch to neaten the stitches there and then I weave my yarn down the side of the decreases, in and out of the bar between the stitches all the way down to the start of the decreases and then back up again. Sometimes, if the stitches look a little looser than I’d like, I’ll weave between the stitches as well to pull them closer together. I think it’s probably a good 1 1/2 to 2 inches of yarn by the time I’ve finished. I’d avoid glue if you can, perhaps try weaving a longer end first? xx

  10. JoannaB says:

    I haven’t joined the WHKAL technically, but I have been knitting everyday. My biggest takeaway is how much I am going to miss your weekly emails! Like your handwritten thank you notes, these emails have given me such joy. I’m sure it was a labor of love on your end, just wanted to let you know that it is so much appreciated. Stay well!

    • winwickmum says:

      Thank you for your lovely words! I’m glad you’ve been part of the KAL, even if not technically :), and I am glad that you’ve enjoyed reading the posts through January. I’ll still be posting regularly now that the KAL has finished, but you’ll have to put up with “the usual ramblings” now! 🙂 xx

  11. Ruth Howard says:

    Thanks again Christine- another enjoyable post – & thanks for including my photos- love reading what you & others have been doing and all your little hints for everyday life as well as knitting 🧶 – I agree with you about thank you cards – I think everyone likes receiving them – during lockdown I sent several food parcels via post – home made scones or flapjack and shortbread etc to elderly friends who would normally visit – I am new to room wax melts but enjoying them as well as the candles- I have been making hot water bottles covers this week !! But back to socks soon
    Look forward to your next post and thanks again
    Love Ruth x

    • winwickmum says:

      I like being able to change the scent more often with wax melts as they don’t last as long as candles. I bet everybody will be glad of your hot water bottle covers – it’s gone cold again, hasn’t it? xx

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