Surprise!  It’s Monday and I’m here with a blog post rather than at the weekend … and that’s because we made an epic journey from the north west of England allllll the way down to the south coast to visit Arts University Bournemouth as it’s on not so small daughter’s shortlist of places to study next year.

Goodness, it was a long journey!  Friday afternoon on the M6 motorway is not the place to be and we crawled along for miles and miles through heavy traffic and roadworks.  Not so small daughter and her boyfriend (also looking for a university place) were chatting and watching films in the back of the car, and my husband and I shared the driving and chatted in the front.  I even got to do some knitting, and it’s been a while since I knitted in the car!

We arrived at the Travelodge we were staying at on the seafront about 9pm (six hours in the car!) after dropping not so small daughter’s boyfriend off at his aunt and uncle’s house.  We were all very glad to get out of the car, I can tell you!  We couldn’t quite see the sea from our bedroom window but we could see the bright moon and the lights of the buildings which follow the shoreline

A view across roof tops taken at night. The moon is bright and there are lights on the buildings in the distance.

After so long in the car, we decided to take a quick walk to stretch our legs.  We headed to the chip shop recommended by the lady on reception for a box of chips to share (they were really good chips, too!) and then walked the short distance down to the seafront.

This is Bournemouth pier, all lit up against the night sky.  My husband was delighted that we were so close to the pier – this is where he used to come for his holidays when he was little, and I could sense his eagerness to get down to the beach and see what he remembered.

A brightly lit pier at night

We arrived in Bournemouth a day or so after Storm Ciarán struck the south coast causing flooding and damage – I think we drove through some of the tail end on our way down as the storm headed up north – and although all was calm now, you could see where the huge waves had flung seaweed and sand high up onto the beach and past it to the shops and beach huts.

A view across sand to the sea taken at night A night photo of a row of beach huts painted in shades of yellow disappear off into the darkness

We didn’t stay out too long as we were all tired and we knew we had a long day the next day, looking around the university and then driving back home again.  We hadn’t planned to stay for the whole weekend – for a start, big daughter was looking after the dog and the cats and needed to get home to see her own boyfriend and cat (does that make me a cat-grandparent, or a grand-catparent?  I’m not ready to be a human grandparent yet! 🙂 ), and we all had plans for Sunday so a flying visit it was!

It didn’t seem to bode too well when we opened the curtains …

Rain on a bedroom window framed by curtains

Ugh, that is not the best kind of weather for wandering about a university campus!

Whilst not so small daughter and I were getting ready to go downstairs for breakfast, my husband went out for a quick walk on his own.  I think that sometimes when we revisit a place that is in our own memories and aren’t shared with the rest of the family, it’s nice to be able to walk on your own and remember the time that you were there.  When my husband came back, his face was bright and his eyes shone as he told us about the cafe where his parents used to take him for treats (still there) and the paper shop where his Dad would pick up a paper to read on the beach every day (still there) and the Oceanarium where you could go in and out to see the sea creatures (still there) – it was all updated, but nothing had changed significantly and you could see how happy he was to be back.

He took some photos for me to share with you …

A view from cliff tops onto a beach. There are big waves and the sky is grey, but the sun is shining in from the left A view from cliff tops onto a beach. The sky is grey A wooden gate bars access to a field on a cliff top. Behind the gate is a view to the sea.A white wooden hut at the top of a cliff A view from a cliff top along a road to with the sea and beach on the right A view of Bournemouth pier on a cloudy autumn morningAn early morning view of a beach from a cliff top. The sun is shining from behind a cloud

It had stopped raining by the time he took these, although it was still a bit of a wild and windy day – I’m not sure I’d want to be dipping my toes in that water!

After breakfast, we headed off to the university collecting not so small daughter’s boyfriend on the way (we didn’t make him walk!).  There are two universities in Bournemouth; one for the “usual” subjects like English, sciences and languages, and the one we were going to, Arts University Bournemouth, which is geared towards film-makers, artists, costume designers, and other creative subjects.

When we got to the car park, I spotted a rainbow reflected in the car window …

A rainbow reflected in a car window

but I couldn’t see it in the sky!  I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me as I looked around for the big rainbow arch – and then I looked right up overhead, and there it was!

A partial straight-line rainbow in a blue and cloudy sky

Not so much of an arch as a stripe and just a little bit of a rainbow, but enough to reflect on the window.  How unusual!

We spent a good few hours at the uni listening to course talks and doing campus and accommodation tours.  Neither my husband nor I went to a bricks and mortar university (we’re Open University graduates) and we were chatting about whether we’d have liked to have come here or not.  I loved the arty-ness of it all, and how creatives could spend their entire time at university surrounded by like-minded people, and my husband liked that the campus was self-contained but still only a short bus ride from Bournemouth town centre.  I’m not sure I’d want to go back to university at all now, even if there was a subject that I thought I’d like to do.  I think my formal study days are over, or at least for now (I still love doing a course on something new!) and even if I was thinking about some kind of textiles course, I like to do my own thing with my socks and not follow a curriculum every year so I think I’ll leave the university life to not so small daughter now!

The drive home was much easier – only four and a half hours instead of six – and the miles soon disappeared as we chatted, I knitted and we discussed what we thought about the day.  It’s been a while since I’ve had nothing to do but sit and knit, and I couldn’t believe it when we got home and all I had to do was finish off the toes of my socks!

A pair of socks in rainbow and blue stripes with dark pink cuffs, heels and toes. They are modelled on feet against a tiled floor

Oh, I am so pleased to have these finished so that they can go on my feet!  They were my Emergency Socks (knitting I keep in the car in case of unexpected waiting) so I’ll need to start a new pair.  The yarn is Marine Rainbow by The Yarn Badger with contrast cuffs, heels and toes in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Fuchsia, and the pattern is my Basic 4ply Socks pattern.  There was absolutely none of the striped yarn left and I got exactly two pairs of one 100g skein – a pair of UK size 8 (68sts cast on) for my husband and a pair of UK size 5 (60sts cast on) for me, with contrasts on both the pairs.  My husband has a short row heel on his pair but I stuck to the heel flap heel for mine, partly because I like the fit but also so that I can tell the socks apart if they’re in the wash at the same time 🙂

All that I needed to do then was write up my notes in my sock notebook and I was done!

Two notebooks, one purple and one blue, sit on a wooden table next to a partly-knitted sock cuff and a ball of off-white yarn

Do you make notes about your socks?  I’ve got a couple of books that I write in – more so these days than ever before because I’ve knitted so many pairs now that I can’t possibly remember all of the details about them all!

I’ve got a book that I write design notes in …

An open notebook with writing inside on a wooden table next to a partly-knitted sock cuff

You can actually find both of these pairs on the blog – the Patchwork Socks are created with intarsia and are one of my next-step tutorials (and also feature in More Super Socks), and the New Leaf socks are called Calcite Socks and that’s a free cable pattern.  I’m impressed that I can read my own writing, too! 🙂

I’ve also got a notebook for more general sock notes in case I want to make another pair the same (ideal if I’ve knitted for one of the family but it’s been a while since the last pair), but also to keep track in case I want to use the information from that pair in another pattern or in a blog post.

A close up of an open notebook with writing inside on a wooden table next to a partly-knitted sock cuff

The notes on this page (apologies for the rather blurry photo, not sure what happened there!) are the prototype for something new that I’ve been working on … I’m developing a sock notebook as part of the Super Socks series.  I’m super-excited about it – it’s got space to write plenty of notes for socks that you’ve knitted, and it’s also got the Sock Stitch Calculation from the Winwick Mum Sockalong tutorials plus two of my Basic Socks patterns as well – everything you’d need for quick reference to hand in one small project bag-sized book!

I’m waiting for the notebook proofs to arrive so that they can go out for road-testing, and I’ll show you what the book looks like so far in my next post as they will have arrived by then.

Exciting times! 🙂



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14 Responses

  1. Julie Kelshaw says:

    I loved to see your Sock Notebook. I keep separate notebooks for the different things I do – wool prep. spinning, dyeing, weaving, knitting. I just thought I was a bit dim needing to keep notes, as I don’t always remember how things were made! I look forward to seeing your sock notebook, and adding it to my notebook collection (Numbering 5 to date, including a gardening one that doesn’t see daylight too often!)

  2. Christine Knowler says:

    I remember the one university visit I took my son to. It had snowed overnight and my husband who had to work was not happy with me driving. But I was determined and I must admit the drive around the M25 and M4 was very slow but we got there albeit a bit late but so were many people so they had held off starting the tour. My son did go to that university but decided after 6 months it was not for him. Funnily enough my eldest stepson also went to that university although he stayed and even met his first wife there. Studying was never for me although I do love to go on day courses to learn something new.

  3. Sue Stephenson says:

    Love the idea of a sock note book. I have post-it’s for every person for every yarn etc etc. I pretend I’m organised but I rarely find the note I’m looking for – I’m sure the dog eats them.

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh, that’s funny, that really made me laugh! I hope the dog is helpful when you’re trying to knit socks after having digested all the information! 🙂 xx

  4. Caz says:

    I remember the visit to Wolverhampton uni with Lewis, they sent the prospective students off and us parents were in the hall being given a talk on their potential subjects…amazing what you remember after a few years…being told if our offspring were doing subjects like ceramics, expect them to get a ‘day job’ and be doing ceramic creations in evenings and weekends as it was too difficult to make a living at it….but if they were doing computer based courses (like Animation which Lewis did), we could possibly be looking at being supported during our retirement! There were a few rude comments muttered by some of the parents about it! And even though Lewis did Animation, he doesn’t do anything like it now! I was glad he went though as I didn’t get the chance for Uni.
    Looking forward to seeing the notebook…..if I’m doing something off pattern, I’ll jot notes down on the nearest piece of scrap then promptly lost it so I’ll be keen to check out what a ‘proper’ knitting notebook can do for me 😇

  5. Barbara says:

    Our daughter lives in Bournemouth with her husband and family. We live in Standish and regularly drive down. It usually takes 4 1/2 to 5 hours but has taken us 8!
    It’s a lovely place to live and I imagine it would be a great place to spend time as a student.

  6. Elaine says:

    I use a notebook to track my sock knitting. I record at the top the pattern, yarn color and brand, stitches cast on, the date finished, and the person for whom the socks were made. Then I tick off each completed row for each section. Then it is easy for me to made an identical second sock without needing to refer back to the first sock all the time. If there are any special notes about what I did, I put those at the bottom of the page, such as if I used different needles. It really helps if I want to make a pair of socks for the same person again, especially since I only use WYS and Malabrigo yarns so I’m not concerned about the yarn knitting up differently every time.

  7. Pam says:

    I have a small notebook that I write notes on the socks I make but at the moment I’m all ‘socked out’. I’ve counted up and this year I’ve knitted 15 pairs of socks plus 3 pairs of chunky knitted slippers for my daughters and several blankets. At the moment I’m knitting a Christmasy blanket in King Cole Fjord in Festive colour. It’s self patterning yarn and the leaflet contains instructions for a stocking and hot water bottle cover. Mind you each row is 250 stitches so it might take a while. Hopefully it will be finished for Christmas.

  8. Ruthie says:

    We live near Bournemouth although our councils have recently been amalgamated. It’s interesting to read about it from someone else’s point of view. I hope not so small daughter makes the right choice for her. X

  9. Julie Mitchell says:

    My youngest daughter graduated this year from Arts University Bournemouth! She studied interior architecture and design. My eldest graduated 2 years ago from Bournemouth University. She studied TV production. They both enjoyed their time there.

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh wow! I hope she enjoyed her time there, it’s a lovely contained campus but still not far from the town – it’s gone in on not so small daughter’s list of choices and she’ll be happy if she goes there, I think that it’s just at the moment she fancies city living which is why it’s not her first choice 🙂 xx

  10. Madeleine says:

    I am an OU graduate too, way back before Internet although there were CMAs (Computer Marked Assignments) as well as handwritten essays. Essays were posted to tutors, sometimes I would end up driving to tutor’s home to put mine through the letterbox at 10pm on cut off date!

    Very fortunate as my employers paid tuition fees after the exam was taken but before results were known, as I had/have a higher level qualification already that earned me two credits towards the six credits required for a degree so I completed the course in four years rather than six whilst working full time and enjoying a social life.

    Bit boastful but graduation ceremony at Alexandra Palace was one of the highlights of my life.

    • winwickmum says:

      Ha ha, my husband and I were only talking about that the other day – driving for miles with our TMAs to put through tutors’ doors before the deadline! There’s nothing boastful about having a ceremony at Alexandra Palace, that sounds wonderful! Even years ago, the OU were brilliant at knowing how to make their graduates feel special because they knew what hard work it was to hold down a job and study at degree level. I think it’s an amazing organisation! 🙂 xx

  11. Susan Rayner says:

    I keep track of all my knitting projects in a notebok – pattern name and number, wool used, size made and who for etc. Love the idea of a sock notebook.
    My husband and I have spent some lovely holidays in and around Bournemouth – not quite such a long drive from Surrey. That beach just calls out for long walks – paddling along the edge of the water. A lovely town and place to be.

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