The longest week

This week has had no more days in it than usual, of course, but imagine if we could add days at will – we’d all be knitting! 🙂 It just feels longer because I’ve been getting up an hour earlier in the mornings to spend a quiet hour getting my head together and being creative.  I used to get up an hour earlier to do a short exercise workout and meditate, but I’ve realised that this is actually my most creative time when my thinking mind is full of ideas, so it seemed to make more sense to use the time productively than wrestle with myself about getting up to do a workout that I didn’t really want to do.  I’m sure you’re not surprised when I tell you that I’m finding it far easier to get out of bed to be creative and I should warn you that I’ve got plenty to say in this post … 🙂

Anyway, packed into this week with extra creative hours has been finishing off an update to Super Socks, which has now gone to the printers.  They don’t hear from me for months and suddenly they can’t get rid of me with my books!

If you follow me on social media, are in one of my Facebook groups or are on the mailing list then you’ll know what I’m about to tell you, which is that the price of both of these books will be increasing soon so if they’re on your Christmas wish list, you might want to order them sooner rather than later.

A blue book entitled More Super Socks and an orange book entitled Super Socks lying on a white board next to two Christmas ornaments and a brown paper star

Super Socks was first published in 2015 and the selling price was set to be the same as a skein of hand-dyed yarn.  More Super Socks followed soon after, and I kept the price the same for the two books, even though More Super Socks is a bigger book which costs more to print and has exclusive patterns in it which would cost more than the price of the book if you were to buy them separately.

Eight years after Super Socks first came out, the price has remained the same (although the price of a hand dyed skein of yarn hasn’t!), despite rising paper and printing costs.  I have absorbed these costs up until now but unfortunately, I can’t do that any longer and from Tuesday 5 December, the price for Super Socks and More Super Socks will change to £17.99.

They are still cheaper than a skein of hand dyed yarn, I’ve updated Super Socks to correct a couple of mistakes (you can find the Errata on the blog; the next photo shows you how you spot the updated copy), plus there are all the additional tutorials on the Winwick Mum blog, videos (with more coming) and the Winwick Mum Sockalong Facebook group for real-time help for sock knitting beginners.  The Winwick Mum Knit n Natter Facebook group offers help for my other patterns, plus chat with knitters from around the world – I feel that these book are still very good value!

You can buy copies of both books at the current price from Wool Warehouse, Sankey Stitch Station, A Modern Yarn and Amazon; Peak District Yarns has a few copies of Super Socks and Black Sheep Wools only has More Super Socks left, and when the new copies arrive from the printers, they will be at the new price.

Thank you so much for all your support – over 12,000 copies of Super Socks have been sold now so that’s a lot of socks to keep toes cosy!

A photo showing where a book has been updated

I’ve got the launch date for Project Super Socks now and that will be Tuesday 5 December 2023 – that’s 10 days away now – woohoo!  That means that the next blog post when I’ll be writing about it will be next weekend which will be just before the launch, but I will be posting on social media before then – don’t worry, you won’t miss any vital information, it’s just how I’ll be trying to make sure that I tell everybody across all platforms as not everybody reads the blog or is on social media … although if you do use Instagram or Facebook or you’re not in one of my Facebook groups and you’d like to see what’s going on, you can find me at @winwickmum on Instagram, Winwick Mum on Facebook and the FB groups are Winwick Mum Sockalong for beginners using the Basic 4ply Socks pattern and Sockalong tutorials, and Winwick Mum Knit n Natter for all other chat and patterns.

An open notebook with a purple pen lying across it is on a cream background next to an orange mug of tea, two green double pointed knitting needles, a small purple bag of bulb pins and a wooden dish with a ball of purple yarn in it

I’m going to be showing more of the inside pages during the next ten days and I’ll do a round-up of what I’ve shared on social media next weekend so that you don’t miss anything – but where better to start than at the beginning?  Although the notebook contains the Sock Stitch Calculation, two patterns and a Kitchener Stitch reminder, I’ve put those to the back of the book as we’re much more likely to want to get at our notes more often so it makes far more sense to put those at the front!  There’s space to write the sock number and a name, and because we don’t always knit plain socks, there’s room to list other types of socks too – there’s even an “other” section where you can choose for yourself which category the sock goes into.  That way, you can always find the right page number for the information for the sock you need to check.

I wrote this notebook because I intend to use it myself.  I’ve got a few notebooks with various versions of this one as I’ve developed it over time, and having an index at the front became a non-negotiable for me – it makes it so much quicker to be able to see which page to turn to rather than having to use stickers or just flick through the pages.

I’m really looking forward to showing you more!

 

Before that, though, there is more of life chez Winwick Mum.

Firstly, the benefits of being up earlier at the time of year when the clocks have changed …

Sunrise above autumn trees which have lost many of their leaves

It was a glorious morning (this week’s weather has been a mix of half-hearted sunshine, rain and strong, blustery winds) and the whole house was bathed in this glorious golden light which seemed to come right through the windows to fill the entire space.

It was such a lovely morning to be out with the dog, although we were passed by a cyclist grumbling about the leaves and I suppose they are slippery on bike tyres as they’re now very wet and welded firmly to the path, but it does look pretty when you’re walking.

Autumn leaves on a cycle path between trees Cloud formations above a meadow

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago that I mentioned that the vet had recommended looking into hydrotherapy for the dog after she suspected he was developing arthritis?  I must say thank you to those of you who said that your dogs are getting on very well with the medication the vet told me about too, as it’s always good to know when something is working.  I decided that we’d try hydrotherapy first to see what that might do before starting medication, and I made an appointment for the dog and I go to along to see a hydrotherapist at a local boarding kennels which has a pool.

The dog loved it, right from his very first session, which was a relief!  I’m used to him being very unenthusiastic as soon as we get through the door at the vet’s these days, so to see him bouncing in to greet the hydrotherapists is lovely.  He’s also very funny – his sessions involve him getting into a large tank which is filled with water up to his armpits (leg pits?  I’m not sure what they are with dogs!) and then walking on a treadmill which is helping to strengthen his legs.  It’s working, too; there’s been a definite difference when we’ve been out on our walks, even from the second session.  I can’t quite work out what the dog thinks about it – he mutters away to himself whilst he’s walking through the water, stops when the treadmill stops and then starts again when the floor under his feet moves again.  Is he grumbling at having to do it or singing himself a walking song?  We will never know!

The hydrotherapist recommended that we buy him a towel coat to wear on the way home so that he didn’t get cold after being in the water, and he wears it after every walk now too – it’s fabulous!  He loves this as well (although you wouldn’t know that from this photo); he puts his head straight through the neck hole as soon as I get it out of the car and is never that keen to take it off when we get home.  He’s lovely and warm when I take it off too, and not really wet at all, although the coat is soaking.  I spent a long time looking at dog towels and coats and decided on this one from Mutt and Bailey in the end because it sounded as if it was a good quality thick one which would last us a long time.  You can buy cheaper ones elsewhere, but I am very happy with my choice; it’s very well-made, it’s used every day and I can see that it’s going to last us a long time.

A black dog sitting in the back of a car wearing a red towel coat. The dog is wearing a safety harness

I think the dog doesn’t look very happy because he’s not so keen on the harness, but it’s got to be done since he stopped going in the boot of the car!  The other good thing about this coat is that it is keeping my car cleaner – although you might not think so looking at that dirty towel!

When we get home, the coat goes over the Aga rail to dry – I did make the mistake of putting it in the washing machine, thinking that I would need to do that on a regular basis because it gets muddy, but the coat soaked up all the water and became so ridiculously heavy that the machine couldn’t spin and it took me two days to dry it out properly.  I won’t be doing that very often!

The dog also likes to dry himself off next to the Aga, and we’ve found a solution to Astrid wanting to lie on his bed too …

A black cat and a tabby and white cat lying on separate pet beds in front of a blue Aga

I’m not a huge fan of Black Friday , but I’ve been glad of the discounts this week as Astrid has a new bed and, if you look closely, a fetching blue cone around her head.  Oh honestly, that cat!  And it’s a flipping good job I keep a savings account especially for pet and vet expenses!

Something (we are not sure what) has happened to Astrid’s head and she has scratched it, and now she’s made BIG mess of her head. Hattie seems to have been helping by providing additional first aid and that has made it all worse as now there are two cats working on it, and a trip the vet’s was called for.  The vet isn’t sure what it is either, other than a Big Mess but we’ve had some drops that had to go in Astrid’s food (they haven’t helped) and now we’re onto topical ointment and stronger tablets that the vet is hoping will clear up whatever it is.  It would be better if we could work out what had caused it, but there’s nothing obvious so we’re a bit stuck.

We had a plastic buster collar (a “cone of shame”) already but putting that one just seem to involve Astrid face-planting into the carpet and then wedging herself behind the furniture to get it off at every opportunity, which really wasn’t helping.  I looked around online and found this soft collar (paid link) which has been much better.  We don’t leave it up like this as she still doesn’t like it …

A tabby and white cat wearing a soft blue collar folded up to show how it stops her scratching her head

but you can fold it down and whilst Astrid still might not look too chuffed to be wearing it, she can’t get it off as it bends when she tries to wedge herself between the furniture and back out of it, and she can sleep and eat in it too.

A tabby and white cat wearing a soft blue collar folded back for her comfort

We’re back to see the vet again next week and hopefully it will be looking significantly better by then!

I’ve got a new Emergency Sock project after finishing my Yarn Badger striped socks a week or so ago.  I went stash-diving (rooting through my boxes of yarn) – fortunately, I don’t have a huge yarn stash so it didn’t take too long to find this lovely skein …

A skein of grey and rainbow yarn lies on a wooden coffee table next to two double pointed needles, some stitch markers and a small fabric notions pouch

I love looking through stash, it’s like having your own private yarn shop!  I have no idea why I haven’t used this yarn before, although I suspect that I thought it was too nice to use and so it has sat in a box for … it turns out, it’s been in the box for years!  I couldn’t remember where the yarn had come from: the label says “Wild at Heart” yarns and it’s a blend of merino, alpaca and nylon so it should be OK for socks, but I didn’t remember buying it.  I showed this photo in the Facebook groups and it was almost immediately recognised as being dyed by a lady called Pauline in Australia – and now I remember!  (I love my Facebook groups!)  Pauline sent it to me when the Sockalong first started, so that means it’s been sitting in the box being too nice to knit for about eight years, and although I have a few skeins I may never quite get round to knitting, this is not going to be one of them any more.  It is a bit of a family joke that if anyone wants to buy me a candle, they can’t buy one that’s too nice to burn (so nothing in any kind of cute shape, or with decorations in the wax), and they are not the only things – I am trying really hard to resist the voice that tells me something is “too nice to use” and start using them so that I can have the pleasure of it rather than leave it in a box or on a shelf to gather dust.

I had a lovely time winding the yarn into a cake, and this is the reason that I always wind the cake twice …

A small cake of rainbow and grey yarn sitting on a white windowsill A large cake of rainbow and grey yarn sitting on a white windowsill

This is exactly the same yarn with photos taken in exactly the same place, but look how much bigger it is on the second winding!  This is because the first time through, you’re much more likely to stretch the yarn, even if you try not to.  You can see that the yarn is quite tight as it’s going through the guide to the winder (this is the first run through), and that’s with me standing between the winder and the swift trying to keep the tension looser.  It’s much easier the second time as you’re winding from a ball, and it’s much better for your yarn too.

A yarn winder attached to a window sill and wedged with a piece of wood so that the guide doesn't slip

Then I cast on, and oh, I’d forgotten how nice it is to knit with yarn with alpaca in it!  We are so privileged as knitters to be able to use yarns containing so many different fibres, and whilst West Yorkshire Spinners yarn always has top spot in my heart, that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate and enjoy other yarns and how they feel in my hands.

Ah, but then the must-match me hit a snag.

The cuff of a knitted sock showing how the mix of grey and rainbox colours has pooled to create a large area of grey The cuff of a knitted sock showing how the mix of grey and rainbox colours has pooled to create a large area of grey

Aargh!  I was getting a stripe of colour down one side and everything else was grey!  This is not what I wanted!

I think the answer is to use helical knitting which is where you knit with two yarns at once, but in such a way that there is no join, and I really like that idea as it should mean that the rainbows are more evenly spaced.  Yes, this has been unravelled and I do need to cast on again, but I’ll keep you posted!

 

There’s one more thing for today and that’s to tell you that next Saturday, 2 December 2023, I’ll be at the opening of the new Ewe Felty Thing shop in Conwy.  You may remember that I went to visit Ewe Felty Thing a few years ago when Nikki’s shop was in Llandudno – goodness, I’ve just looked at the date of the post (February 2020) and it was just before the Covid pandemic – we had no idea what was coming, did we?! – and since then the Llandudno shop has shut down and she’s now re-opening in the old NatWest Bank building at 24 Castle Street, Conwy, LL32 8AY.   (My very first job after leaving college was at NatWest so this feels quite appropriate 🙂 )

An old stone-built bank building on a town street against a grey sky

The opening is across two days (Saturday and Sunday), although I will just be there on the Saturday.  I won’t have the new Project Super Socks notebooks with me as the launch isn’t until the Tuesday afterwards, but I’ll bring my proof copy so that you can have a look at it if you’d like to, and I will bring Super Socks and More Super Socks in case you want a copy of those, and do bring your socks to show me too!  I always love to see socks in any stage of progress, and if you’ve not started knitting them yet and have questions, bring those along too and I’ll do my best to answer them! 🙂

It’ll be lovely to see you there if you can make it, and if you can’t get there over the opening weekend, at least you know that there’s a new yarn shop in town the next time you’re visiting the Conwy area!

 

Right, I think that’s me done for today (and probably you too, after the length of this post!).  I’ll see you next week! xx

 

 

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24 Responses

  1. Audrey says:

    oh you are going to be very busy .I live too far away in Newcastle to go to anything where you live. So I hope it all goes well for you

    • winwickmum says:

      Thank you! And yes, it has occurred to me that it might not be a quiet run up to Christmas! 🤣 You’re in a fab part of the world, I visited Newcastle many years ago and loved it! xx

  2. Cheryl Egan says:

    I just love your posts,Christine! You originally inspired me to knit socks,which I love and it’s so addictive! Congratulations in advance on the new book. From one of your many fans in Massachusetts, USA!

  3. Ruthie says:

    Good luck with your new book! I’m glad the hydrotherapy is helping your dog, arthritis is so miserable.

  4. Sue Lione says:

    I do enjoy your posts, I started knitting socks in September after buying your WYS book and have just started my fourth pair, definitely addictive. Hope our weekend goes well. X

  5. Ven says:

    May I ask what the bit of wood is for an on your winder please.

  6. Sandra Dain says:

    My daughter and I went to Conwy in May but the shop wasn’t open. Too far to come from New Zealand! Next time…..

  7. Susan Rayner says:

    I love the photo of your beautiful dog in his posh new dry robe from Mutt and Bailey – Peggotty (our last Border Terrier sadly not with us any longer) also had hydrotherapy after a cruciate repair and had a similar coat from Equafleece. She loved it too.
    I seem to hang onto my hand dyed wools for something special and need to stop that too – if I saved too much I would have to leave it as an inheritance to someone.
    I don’t save clothes or china etc any longer – nothing is saved for best now – best might be this minute.
    This was a lovely blog – wish we could come to Conwy – we love it and I spent my 60th at Bodysgallen Hall overlooking the castle.
    Good luck with the trip and the book.

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh, that sounds like a very lovely birthday treat, and I hope you had a wonderful time! You’re quite right, there’s no point in spending money on lovely hand dyed yarns only to pass them onto someone else to get the benefit of them! There may be a few, but I do need to make a dent in the small pile that I’ve got! 🙂 xx

  8. Annie Bear says:

    I love your gorgeous dog, red suits him so well! We gave our old Great Dane Yumove which helped no end. Glad he’s feeling better, give him a kiss 💋 from me 😊

    • winwickmum says:

      Ah, thank you! Ours is on a supplement from Simply Supplements which is very similar to Yumove but a bit cheaper – which means I can afford to buy him snazzy new towel coats! 🙂 xx

  9. SARAH MURRAY says:

    I bought both of your books which arrived yesterday whilst I was out. Couldn’t wait to open the package and get reading. Love the sock patterns and all the photo help. I have started getting up a bit earlier at the weekends too. It gives me chance to play with my young son and do everything else I need to get done before a new week starts. Lots of knitting included 🙂 Thank you for a lovely post. Hope your pets are doing fine and good luck in Conwy. Sarah xxx

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh, that’s wonderful, thank you very much! I’m glad you’re finding that getting up that little bit earlier makes a difference to you too. I was so tired at the end of last week, but with all the extra things that I got done, I felt great too! 🙂 xx

  10. Helen says:

    I don’t save for best either. I figure you can see the thing now if used, wear the socks, use the crocks. Oh I’m rhyming!
    I’m glad the dog is enjoying his treatment. Sorry that Astrid is in the wars, again. She’s so like my Simba.

    I quite like the rainbow pooling, it’s like an actual rainbow in a grey sky.

    • winwickmum says:

      It is like a rainbow in a grey sky – but it was too pooled for me so I’ve started again 🙂 You’re quite right about using things now, I definitely need to get better at it 🙂 xx

  11. Chris Hailebaxter says:

    Too nice to use – it’s a shame. We should do things before it’s too late and use those beautiful yarns. I’ve reached more than three score years and ten and know that more time has passed than is to come so I’m trying to use up my stash – ha ha -. Keep up the good work.🧶

    • winwickmum says:

      Yes, you’re right, that’s the reason why I’ve been thinking more about this – why leave it for someone else who might not love it as much as I do? 🙂 Good luck with using up your stash! xx

  12. Gillian Edwards says:

    Can I ask about your wool winder. I want one but there are so many to choose from. I don’t want one of those big ones and the picture of yours looks just right to me.

    • winwickmum says:

      Mine was a cheap one from Ebay because I was like you and could only find something big and expensive or this one. The metal guide will fall over if I don’t wedge it with the wood, and I have to be very careful to slot the top on properly too, otherwise it pings off and yarn goes everywhere, but it works just fine for the few times a year that I use it 🙂 xx

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