Out of steam

This week, after all the rushing of recent weeks, I am out of steam.  I’ve spent the week not getting very far very fast and I’ve tried to remember that sometimes, this is just how is.  We’re very close to a new moon and I am often tired in the days before (it’s known as “dark moon” and it affects many people), but I am getting better at recognising it and realising that I can’t continue at full pelt indefinitely and I just need a rest!

To be honest, there hasn’t been anything less to do but I’ve been going through my lists of jobs (oh, I do love a good list) and taking off anything that wasn’t urgent or felt like too much effort (no pointing of the gable wall or icing the ceiling this week!).  For me, this is progress.  I used to keep pushing on and pushing on and wouldn’t stop at all, but at last I am noticing what my body tells me and trying to do what it asks.  Lots of you told me that you were feeling the same rush and had been charging about – how have you felt this week?

I’ve still been out for walks with the dog, and there have still been dramatic skies …

A blue sky dotted with white clouds, and a tall electricity pylon reaching up towards them in the centre of the photoA threatening grey sky above a golden wheat field

He’s had a lovely time this week as we’ve had lots of rain so his favourite ponds are filling up again.

A black dog stands in a pond surrounded by trees. The water level is not as high as it could be, but is enough for the dog to be up to his tummy in the water

Do you remember I showed you the same pond the other week?

A black dog is in a woodland pond. The water level is very low and you can see the bottom of the pond

It’s still not quite as full as it usually is, but it’s certainly better than it was – and that can only be good news for other lakes and reservoirs too!  (That droopy tail made me laugh when I looked at the two photos, it looks like he’s really sad in the second photo but you can see his big grin in the top one 🙂 )

The conkers are growing on the trees – can you see them?  The round spiky things; I hadn’t noticed them before but suddenly, they were big enough to catch my eye this week.

A horse chestnut tree with young conkers growing on itA close up of spiky conker cases on a horse chestnut tree

What I also noticed this week – and was so pleased to see – were butterflies on the Buddleja bush.  I was worrying that I hadn’t seen any this year and usually, it’s full of large peacock butterflies.  Well, I walked past it the other day and there were so many butterflies, I couldn’t believe it!

The peacocks are back – the peacock butterfly is the one at the top of the photo.  It’s upside down, those large blue spots that look a bit like eyes are usually at the bottom of its wings.  It’s not just peacocks this year, though, there are other varieties too.  The red and black butterfly below it is a red admiral – they used to be in my Dad’s garden all the time but I’ve never really seen them here.

A red butterfly with black wing tips and a butterfly with big wing spots that look like eyes on a bush with long purple flowers

I don’t know how well you can see them, but there are orange butterflies here too.  They’re called commas.

A red butterfly with black wing tips and a brown and orange butterfly on a bush with long purple flowers

This is a better photo of a comma …

An orange spotted butterfly on a bush with large purple flowers.

It was amazing to see so many!  I had to look this one up on a butterfly website as I don’t remember seeing these in the garden before either.  I think I must have expected to see them too early but I am so very glad to see them now.  The bush was covered in bees of different varieties too; this is definitely a bush for the wildlife!


Changing the subject now … thank you so much to everyone who has offered help and tutorial ideas for not so small daughter who’s learning to crochet.  We were both overwhelmed by your kindness, from which videos to watch to even offering her left-handed lessons if she needs them – what a wonderful place the yarn community is!  So far, she’s finding it comfortable to hold her hook in her right hand and is still following video tutorials, although I’ve noticed that she’s referring to stitches by name and this week, even printed out a pattern to have a go at making an amigurumi duck.  I should have taken photos of what she’s been doing but I’ll remember for next time.  She’s even persuaded her boyfriend to pick up a hook so at one point, I walked into the living room to see him part-way through a granny square and her showing him what to do.  I tiptoed past so as not to break the concentration.


I’ve had a yarn breakthrough of my own this week, although not quite the one I was hoping for.  If you remember, a couple of weeks ago I told you that I had stalled on my husband’s sock.

A partly knitted sock in rainbow shades lies next to the ball of yarn and a succulent plant on a white shiny table. The roof joists are reflected on the table surface

I was using up the remains of a skein of some lovely Yarn Badger yarn in the colourway Marine Rainbow, and trying out a Fish Lips Kiss short row heel (the contrast is WYS Signature 4ply in Fuchsia) … and I ran out part way down the sock.  If it had only been a few rounds, I’d have made the contrast toe a bit longer but this was half way up the foot so it would have looked a bit odd.  Of course, I hadn’t weighed the yarn before I started but this week, I found the second half-ball and popped it on the scales.

A ball of multi-coloured yarn on a flat silver-coloured weighing scale. The ball of yarn weighs 25g.

Oh dear.  That was never going to stretch to be a UK size 8 sock with a 68 st cast on, even with contrast cuffs, heels and toes, so I could have saved myself quite a bit of time if I’d weighed it before I started!  However, nothing is ever wasted.  I’ve had a go at a Fish Lips Kiss heel and I may be able to get a sock for me out of that weight of yarn if I use contrasts and possibly a slightly longer contrast toe, so that’s good news.  I just can’t quite bring myself to unravel it just yet!

In the meantime, my husband has spotted another sock that’s been on my needles (another one I can’t show you just yet) and he wants a pair of those instead – it’s a big compliment that he likes one of my designs enough to want a pair for himself as usually, he says he likes the socks but obviously can’t see himself wearing them!  I’ve not much more to go on the can’t-show-you socks and then I’ll be back onto stuff that I can show you.  Oh, and I know it’s early but I’m going to run the Winter Haven KAL again next year so I’ll be getting on with that pattern too.  I won’t spoil the surprise of the pattern but I will tell you the colours I’m using as I was chatting to Sharon at Eskdale Yarns in New Zealand and she said that for people who live a long away from Winwick, it’s really helpful to know that information early.  You won’t have to use the same colour (or is that colours – you’ll have to wait and see!) as me, of course, but it will give you an idea of what to rummage about in your stash for, or drop into your basket if you happen to be in a yarn shop and you think you might like to knit the Winter Haven pattern next year 🙂

Oh, and one more yarn-related thing.  I’m going to be making some more videos to with the Sockalong tutorials and this week, I was asking in the Winwick Mum Sockalong Facebook group if there was anything in particular that people were getting stuck on that I should add to my list.  I’ve got a few more things so it was definitely helpful to ask – and now I’m asking you!  If you’re a beginner, where have you got stuck?  These are not going to be follow-along videos, more in the line of specific issues as I like people to be able to work out how to knit socks for themselves (and others), so if you’ve got any thoughts, please do let me know!


Right, that’s me for this week, I think – I’ve run out of steam on the blog post now too!  I hope you’ve got a great weekend planned, what are you up to?



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23 Responses

  1. Laura Miller says:

    Hi Christine. So glad you’ve got butterflies on your Buddleia. We’ve had none at all this year. So sad. I’m still hopeful we may get a few but it’s a sign of the times I’m afraid…. On a brighter note, although I’m not a beginner sock knitter I do often get asked to show people how to do kitchener stitch on the toe. Maybe a slow motion video would be good (if that’s even possible). Just a thought. Thanks for another fab post. You really made me smile whilst I was taking a break from a rather horrible piece of work I’m trying to plough through. Take care. x

  2. Christine says:

    A close up of picking up the extra stitches so you don’t get a hole is good for a newbie. Love your tutorials and thanks for freebies.

    • winwickmum says:

      That’s the suggestion that’s come up most in the Facebook group too, so I will definitely need to spend some time on that one! Thank you very much! 🙂 xx

  3. Caz Abbinett says:

    I’m sat here nodding a ‘me too’ at your dark moon – although I didn’t know that’s what it was called or what it was about….definitely struggled to motivate myself this week after having made a lot of progress the days before 🤔
    We haven’t had many butterflies on the buddleja either…worrying 😢 although we’ve had loads of bees on all the passionflowers 🥰.
    I still haven’t tried the fish lips kiss heel yet..I’ll be having a go on the current socks I think as I really need a change from the frustrations of the EOP that isn’t turning out nicely- definitely a tension problem as it’s not because of mistakes in the pattern 😢.
    Hopefully we’ll all get over the dark moon and be back to busy busy soon…my To Do list needs some progress made!

  4. Ruth Cooling says:

    One thing I found about kitchener stitch videos is they show how to do the first two or three stitches then you get told to carry on to the end. I would have found it really helpful for the video to carry on through all 14 stitches to the last two and then finishing off, rather than having to stop and rewind back to the beginning repeatedly through the row. (I now no longer need to watch a video 😊)

  5. Jacqueline says:

    Take care of yourself.
    My issues are always with the heel and gusset. I just can’t get it through my head

  6. Mairi Hughes says:

    I’ve been making jam, blackcurrant, with the berries from our 1 bush. 6 jars filled.
    I’m waiting on circular and dpns arriving in the post. I’m going to knit my first Aran weight socks but after searching through all my needles couldn’t find the size required so contacted local stores near me and they are kindly posting out.
    So my hands are free. Will need to cast on a vanilla sock.

  7. Maha Atma Kaur says:

    Hi Christine, yes it is frustrating to run short on yarn. I would frog back a few rows to the dk blue either before or after the yellow, on the foot. The begin helical knitting with that yarn and your contrast yarn. You can then complete the toes with the contrast. it will look like you meant to do that and have a nice effect. I enjoy reading your blog and your nature shots!

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh that’s an interesting idea, I’ll give that some thought, thank you! I think I am leaning towards having the socks for myself, though … 🙂 xx

  8. Kathy Augustine says:

    Hi Christine, I am totally with you on the “running out of steam” issue. I live on the East Coast of Virginia and it’s been sooo hot and steamy. The “feels like” temperature at 8 this morning was 108! That just saps the energy. I am enjoying working on your Don’t Be Koi socks and trying not to feel guilty about knitting in the middle of the day when I “should” be working on that To Do List (The never ending to do list). Let’s both be kind to ourselves 🌻! Have a lovely, peaceful week!

  9. Helen says:

    Hope you feel better this coming week. Saw 3 WM yarns in Hobbycraft today. Rum Paradise is gorgeous.

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh, that’s fab! I haven’t been into Hobbycraft for ages but I’ve just looked on their website and they have all of the colours which is super-exciting. I can’t claim Rum Paradise as mine, sadly, but I agree that it’s gorgeous! 🙂 xx

  10. Ruth Howard says:

    Thanks for the update – I am feeling a bit done in too this week ! We had a comma butterfly earlier on in the garden and I had to look it up – not seen around before -but seen another since too – our Buddleja has just started to have butterflies and I have seen peacocks on it and we have had meadow browns and gatekeepers but not on the the Buddleja- loving the sock too – take care – it is end of term burn out!! – love Ruth x

  11. Maxine Togneri says:

    Can’t wait to see the new designs Christine. My achievement this week has been learning to crochet waffle stitch, so now on yet another WIP of a baby blanket . Weather here has been awful and I think I may be growing webbed feet. On a plus the decking paint is bought for the supposed heatwave at the end of July 😂. Have a great week. X

    • winwickmum says:

      You’re really on a roll with the new skills at the moment! At least with a baby blanket it’s quickly made and you can celebrate your achievement before too long … and then find another technique to try out! 🙂 xx

  12. Christine Knowler says:

    Our buddhlia seems to be late blooming this year. We seem to have more butterflies coming into our conservatory than finding all the lovely flowers I planted for them.

  13. Across the Pond says:

    Accuse me of having zero style sense – but I would finish your husband’s socks and let the color change fall where it may. Unless he’s barefoot, no one will know. Call it a design feature! Gorgeous work!

    • winwickmum says:

      Ah, I’m not sure that the colour-matcher in me can do that … I think I’d prefer to re-knit the socks in a smaller size and have them for myself! 🙂 xx

  14. Wendy Hollow says:

    I am sorry you’re feeling “pressured”. Keep chasing butterflies and photographing them I love them. Perhaps a straw hat and veil and a long hadled net…..ah the romance of those thoughts. Big hugs. WAHx

  15. Michelle says:

    Always love to hear how you are doing and seeing the lovely phots!

  16. Bridget Jarvis says:

    Hi Christine. Thank You for the blog this week. I always look forward to the winter Kal. I have knitted a number of pairs of socks but I would love a little video on how to pick the stitches up once help flap is finished. I always have one side looking better than the other. Have a great week and let’s hope this windy wet weather goes away very soon. x

  17. Nicky Slade says:

    Thank you for sharing all your lovely photos! We don’t have a buddleia but I was thinking that there weren’t so many butterflies and bees on the lavender until this past week when it has been literally buzzing with them – bees, lots of different butterflies and two hummingbird hawk moths which are just amazing! Re sock knitting issues – I agree with Bridget, I struggle with picking up the stitches evenly after the heel flap is done.

  18. Jen says:

    I planted a buddleija here last year, hoping for lots of butterflies (in Aus)

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