Up the wall and Peggy Martin

My late mother-in-law was one of those people who had a selection of phrases that made perfect sense to her family but probably not much to anyone else.  My Nan was the same so I’m assuming it was a generational thing – now that I’m getting older, her announcement that she was “going down like a cow’s tail” (something that alway made me laugh) feels entirely appropriate some days …  Anyway, one of the more expressive sayings from my mother-in-law was “up the wall and Peggy Martin” which loosely translates as “I don’t know whether I’m coming or going” and that’s been me this week.

Not so small daughter was still on holiday from sixth form college which has altered our routine somewhat, I’ve spent all week thinking it’s Saturday, the weather has gone through all four seasons in the last couple of days and I put my specs in the fridge instead of the milk when I last made a brew.  It’s not looking good!

Oh, but what has been looking AMAZING has been your wonderful generosity in buying the Don’t Be Koi socks pattern which I released last weekend (that really was a Saturday!).  Thank you so very much – I’ve been able to make a big donation towards not so small daughter’s fundraising for her Japan trip this summer and we are both very grateful.  Thanks to the pattern and camp blanket badge sales, she’s very close to her target now which has given her the impetus she needed to really get stuck into working towards her last payment.

A partly-knitted blue sock on a wooden sock blocker, next to a leather project bag and an orange mug of tea. The socks have a band of golden fish in a red border around the top

In case you missed it last week, the Don’t Be Koi socks pattern was designed with not so small daughter to incorporate ideas of Japan and you can read the story behind the socks in the post here.  The pattern has a small section of colourwork for the fish (and Koi fish come in all sorts of colours so leftovers are perfect for this) and the rest is plain and easy knitting – they were such a pleasure to knit!

The Don’t Be Koi socks are currently on tour ( 🙂 ) as they are at Black Sheep Wools for a couple of weeks.  Sara, one of the owners, very kindly asked if they could help with not so small daughter’s fundraising by displaying the socks so that if you’re in Black Sheep and want to see them you can, and they also have a link to Ravelry so that means you can buy Ravelry patterns in the Craft Barn and I think they will print them out for you (you would have to check that just in case I’m wrong).  Not so small daughter had planned to wear them today but I’d already whisked them away … there was muttering about it so they won’t be staying long at Black Sheep, but if you’re around over the next week or so, you may see the socks there!

It was quiet in the Craft Barn when I went to drop the socks off, and also another supply of Super Socks and More Super Socks books as Black Sheep Wools stock them there, so I was able to take a few photos – I thought you might like to have a look around.  The weather’s been miserable this week, hasn’t it, so if you’ve not been able to get out and about then visit Black Sheep Wools vicariously with me!

Naturally, I headed straight for the sock yarn and was delighted to see the samples that I knitted for the West Yorkshire Spinners Happy Feet pattern book on display.

Happy Feet sock samples designed and knitted by Winwick Mum displayed over a doorway in Black Sheep Wools craft barn.  Through the doorway are racks of yarn on sale, and above the socks are shawl samples

The socks were designed in two colourways, but of course you can make up your own colourways as well – I think all the bright colours would look great in these designs!

And oh look, more Winwick Mum designs … 🙂

A view through shelving units to more units behind.  Down the side of one of the units are photos of WYS Christmas socks patterns designed by Winwick Mum

These are the free patterns from Christmas 2022 – you can download them from the Black Sheep Wools website as well as WYS and that’s very handy if you’ve got yarn to buy as well!

The Craft Barn has so much yarn in it – I don’t think it can be often that people leave having not found what they wanted or a good alternative.  There’s a lovely cafe as well, a comfy sofa area where you can sit and knit, and there’s a range of cross stitch and tapestry kits too in case yarn-related crafts are not your thing.

A collage showing views of the inside of Black Sheep Wools craft barn including rows of yarn storage, a comfy sofa to sit and knit and garments on display

I was just on my way out when I spotted this huge Emma Ball display by the till.  I love Emma Ball’s designs; I keep a supply of her greetings cards in a box for those occasions when someone needs a birthday/new home/congratulations card at short notice.

A large display of Emma Ball products

The display at Black Sheep Wools is of tins, notebooks, mugs, project bags – all the things to tempt someone with yarn in their hands when they get to the till!  There’s even a money box for saving up for future purchases!

A close up of Emma Ball tins and cards

It was raining yet again when I left Black Sheep Wools and headed down the windy roads to Winwick.  In a heroic display of commitment to the blog and to you, dear readers, I went out again when I got home into our soggy garden to see what I had to show you 🙂

Tulips, green Hydrangea quercifolia (oak leaf hydrangea) leaves, and yellow cowslips …

Red and yellow tulips in a garden border Pale green Hydrangea quercifolia leaves Yellow cowslip flowers in a garden border

I’ve got a single flower on my Camellia this year …

A single white Camellia flower with pink-tinged leaves about to flower

It’s very pretty, although from past experience I know that it may not open more than this.  This plant is in a pot and I should probably make an effort to change the compost or at least feed it – there’s no way the plant is coming out without me smashing the pot – and maybe I would get more flowers that open next year!

Camellias like more acid soil and it seems that that’s the general soil type around Winwick as there are lots of Camellia bushes that suddenly burst into flower here.  All flower earlier than mine, and all of them are much bigger too (probably because they are not in pots) – this is one that I pass on walks with the dog …

Red Camellia flowers on a bush

Oh, and we saw these catkins too.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to photograph them properly, but I’m really pleased with how this picture turned out!

Yellow catkin flowers on a branch

I’ve got vegetable seedlings in pots on the kitchen window sill that need potting up this weekend so that’s going to be my job for today or tomorrow.

I think I am starting to get the hang of posting on Saturdays and judging by my blog stats, it seems that it suits you better too, so we’ll stick with this for now and see how we get on 🙂

I’ll be back next week with more news and in the meantime, I hope you have a lovely rest of the weekend! xx



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35 Responses

  1. Judith Dee says:

    Lovely read on a Saturday morning. Such great sayings to pass down the generations. Thanks

  2. Susan Miller says:

    l love all your blogs just wish I lived near black sheep wools the shop looks so good .

    • winwickmum says:

      It is a really good shop, they have so much yarn and you can spend a long time browsing and squishing – and then having a brew and browsing some more! Your bank balance is probably glad you live where you do 🙂 xx

  3. Fran says:

    They have a really good online shop with those darn wonky shelves ☺ They are not close enough to visit in person as yarn and cake is always a good combination.

    • winwickmum says:

      It really is! I have to be very disciplined otherwise I leave with yarn I am never going to knit with – I actually managed to leave empty-handed yesterday and I felt very guilty! 🙂 xx

  4. Ruth Howard says:

    Thanks again Christine
    interesting blog – as your previous follower said re:Black Sheep wools – but a good job I don’t live near – my Husband would despair – very much my type of shop – I would about live there!!!! – my Camelia is about the same also in a pot as we have very alkaline soil living over Gypsum mines!!! –
    thanks again have a lovely weekend
    Love Ruth x

    • winwickmum says:

      We perhaps both need to feed our Camellias and hope for a better display next year! You’ll have lots of other plants that like the alkaline soils though, hopefully! 🙂 xx

  5. fiona kennedy says:

    I live in Glasgow but I have been lucky enough to visit the craft barn several times and I have a gift card from xmas-i have a very understanding husband.
    At the moment I have broken my arm 6 weeks in a brace and at least another 6 weeks so no knitting now.Very painful.My late mother used to say when something had gone”I’ve not seen that since Christ left Kilmarnock!” I still use it and some of my friends now use it!!

  6. Sue Stephenson says:

    A lovely read with a mid morning cuppa on a Saturday. I have lived in Wales for over 40 years but still come out with Cumbrian phrases I heard growing up that my family claimed I’ve never used before despite my claims it’s a common phrase lol

  7. Liz says:

    I’ve just discovered Emma Ball as The Wool Shop in Brigg have started selling her things????
    Saturday is good for reading your blog Christine, relaxing with a coffee after a walk at Far Ings near the Humber Bridge – spotted 1st housemartins of the year!

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh wow, what a treat, I’ve not seen any housemartins yet this year. I think that Emma Ball’s products are appearing in lots of places now, she’s obviously worked very hard at getting them into shops. There are so many different things to choose from too! 🙂 xx

  8. Liz says:

    ps, the old phrase I use are ‘frame yourself’ for sort yourself out and get on with the job, one from my roots in the West Riding

    • winwickmum says:

      I’ve never heard of that one! 🙂 xx

    • jacqui says:

      Very familiar with that one, Liz. Also originally from the West Riding. My mum would say, “You frame like a man made o’ band!” Meaning you were hopeless at whatever you were trying to do. About children who are being uncooperative, usually because they’re tired, she’d say, “They’ll neither be led, driven nor hooked on behind.”
      Christine, I’ve only ever come across, it’s all my eye and Peggy Martin. I wonder who she was!

      • winwickmum says:

        I don’t know but other people have said their expression is “All my eye and Betty Martin” so whoever Peggy and Betty were, it sounds like they were very well known! 🙂 I’ve never heard of your other expressions – isn’t it great that we have these?! xx

      • Liz says:

        tired children get the ‘can’t want to’s’, or so my teacher aunt used to say

  9. Rosy Griffith says:

    Thanks for your lovely sockalong blogs which helped me get started knitting socks last year. Now I’m hooked. Sent for some raspberry blue wool and it’s amazing though I didn’t really need more as my stash is huge.

    • winwickmum says:

      Blue raspberry is a lovely colour, isn’t it? I’m sure you’ll find a use for it all … and I’m very glad I was able to help you knit socks! 🙂 xx

  10. Jan says:

    Saturday is lovely for me, as I’m at work and it gives me something nice to read with lunch.

  11. Susan Rayner says:

    Loving the Saturday blog and people’s lovely responses to it.
    I wish I could get to Black Sheep Wools again – not on any future holiday plans – but I must keep looking for things to do and visit in your neck of the woods. Even my husband loved it there – comfy sofa, nice tea and cake and he had met Steve (Sara’s brother) at various wool fairs so had a lovely chat with him too. Such a fabulous wool place. Lovely to see all your samples on display.
    I would plant the Camellia – smash the pot – you won’t regret it. they grow beautifully here too.
    The rain seems to have departed from the SE for the moment – spring might be given a chance to shine now.
    Have a lovely weekend everyone.

    • winwickmum says:

      That comfy sofa is still there so if you can persuade your husband that he needs a trip to the north west, he’ll be able to settle himself there for a while! You are probably right about the pot … it was expensive, though, so I’m loathe to smash it! 🙂 xx

  12. Pam says:

    Your mother in law’s comments reminded me of some that my grandmother used to say. If she was in a rush but not getting ahead she would say ‘ I’m all behind like a cows tail’. Another one was about long straight hair which she said looked like’ a yard of pump water’. Happy memories.

  13. Helen says:

    My nan used to pull the brush through my knotty hair from scalp to long ends with me squealing and say “not enough cobs to stop a galloping horse”. Cob is a hard bread roll. I remember the pain too!

  14. Caz Abbinett says:

    Love this blog post (and the change to Saturdays) ….it set me off on a distraction googling the expression and found out, as well as various ideas on the saying’s origins, Betty Martin apparently is a knitting stitch?!?!? Row 1: *K2, p2*, repeat to last 2 sts, k2. Row 2: *P2, k2*, repeat to last 2 sts, p2. Row 3: Knit to end. Row 4: Purl to end.

    And Peggy Martin is a rose as well….

    Pam’s comment about the cow’s tail reminded me of one of my Hubby’s sayings….”couldn’t hit a cow’s bottom with a banjo” ……sets me off giggling just typing it – some of the old expressions are so funny!!!

    And that’s another half hour spent wandering round ‘Tinterweb’, sidetracked from what I *should* have been doing!! 🙂

    I’m just going to have a look at Black Sheep Wools site – it would be rude not to – I may be ‘sidetracked’ a while longer……

    Happy days

    • winwickmum says:

      Well, fancy that! I never would have expected Peggy Martin to be associated with knitting – isn’t it great what you can find on Google? 🙂 It sounds like you’ve been well down the rabbit hole after this post! xx

  15. Lynne Rowe says:

    What a fabulous post – I can’t wait to cast on my socks and have found some yarn in stash. Lovely to see all the displays at BSW too – your socks all look absolutely amazing ????????????

  16. Petra-S. says:

    Hi Christine,
    I just came by because I was curious what’s going on on your blog (and because Nicola said, we all just have to say hello and send you greetings from Germany!) ;).
    And I have to say, that I like your blog and will come back again later. 🙂

    Have a lovely week-end and stay safe and healthy!
    Best wishes and greetings from Germany!
    Petra-S. (aka pi-bi2701, if Nicola wanted to know..) 🙂

    • winwickmum says:

      Hello Petra, it’s lovely to see you! Thanks for stopping by … Nicola will be very pleased to know that people are doing what she tells them! 🙂 I am really glad you like the blog, and I hope you have a lovely weekend too 🙂 xx

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