Winter Haven KAL 2024 – Week 2
Hello, how are you doing? It only seems like five minutes since I wrote last week’s post but it’s Week 2 of the Winter Haven KAL already and I hope this this week has been a good one for you.
Thank you to everyone who has been in touch through the blog comments, on social media or by email – it’s been great to hear from you and I’m so pleased that you’re joining in with the KAL! Please note that this post is VERY picture-heavy!
This week was our “official” back to it week as not so small daughter was back at sixth form college on Monday, and my husband and I were back at the day job after a lovely long Christmas break. You know, I think I appreciated the time off after New Year more than I have done in years previously where I’ve taken the time off before Christmas. I actually managed to be ready for Christmas a few days before the big day this year and that was a break in itself and meant that I felt that Christmas was much calmer than it has been in other years.
The first week back to work is always tough, though, isn’t it? It’s like you have to remember how to think all over again! 🙂 I’ve been very glad of the Winter Haven KAL this week as it has reminded me that I need to be better at setting boundaries with myself and I’ve been doing that – I’ve been shutting my laptop at 5.30pm and then spending the evening knitting and resting – I’ve definitely been taking my own advice for once!
I’ve been making an effort to find a few minutes in the day to sit and knit – or just sit – too. My husband has been practising “just sitting” which is a form of meditation where you sit and let the awareness of what’s going on around you wash over you, and it’s a very calming thing to do. I am also really enjoying those extra minutes of knitting too, and it has reminded me how much knitting is part of my own well-being practice.
I hope you’ve got on OK with the week. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing so many posts on Facebook and Instagram (you can find them using the hashtag #WinterHavenKAL – don’t forget to add yours!) and what’s been really lovely is that the posts are encouraging more people to join in who didn’t think they wanted to be part of a KAL! Yes, of course I want the whole world to knit my sock patterns 🙂 , but just as important is making sure that we try to rest and recharge too, so the more people we can encourage to do that, the better!
I think what helps is that this KnitAlong is very flexible, especially as I’ve got more patterns for you to choose from these days alongside the Basic 4ply Socks and this year’s Treasure Socks pattern, and as your Haven will be a space in your house then you haven’t got to leave it to go anywhere else, which makes it much easier to take a few moments for yourself. If you’re new to the KAL, welcome! It started last Friday and the last post will be on Friday 26 January so there’s still time to find yourself a cosy space, pick up a WIP or start a new project, and join in. The first post which tells you all about the KAL and how it works is here.
Every year, I get emails from people who say that January is a difficult month for them for a variety of reasons and now in it’s 5th year, the Winter Haven KAL is a good reminder that they (and you) are not alone. We might sit on our own in our Haven spaces but we are still connected and this is one of those time when social media in any form can actually help and we can all feel part of something bigger. I didn’t plan the KAL like this deliberately in the beginning but I like the way that it’s worked out like this 🙂
This week, I’m going to talk a bit about what I’ve been doing, but I’m also going to show you what others have been doing as well – I love that we are all taking part in this KAL together!
🕯 My space
It’s not been particularly cold over the last week – it’s been round about 6°C (42°F) which is really quite mild for January, I think, although we’re forecast an icy blast next week. I think I’ll be very glad to stay in by the fire then!
It’s been great to read about your cosy spaces … I’m terribly nosey and I do like to see where you sit and knit! 🙂 Would you like to see some other Winter Have spaces too?
Here’s Lynda’s – and yes, you might recognise an Attic24 blanket in the photo too! I’ve heard from a few people who have said that they are combining the Winter Haven KAL with Lucy’s CAL (CrochetAlong) and that sounds like a fabulous way to spend January – knitting AND crochet!
Fiona’s Haven Space is in her kitchen – it’s summertime where she is and she’s forgone the air-conditioned living room as her husband is watching the cricket and she needs to concentrate on her socks! 🙂
Fleur obviously lives somewhere warmer than the UK as well! Doesn’t that look like a lovely place to sit and knit?
Jacqui is knitting ALLLL the Winwick Mum Socks! She’s got Easy Cable Socks, Alexander Socks and Easy Mosaic Socks on the go as well as the yarn for her Treasure Socks. I think it’s always a good idea to have different projects to jump between as the mood or the circumstances take you 🙂
Thank you for showing me (and us all!) your photos – I’ll have some more for you next week!
How have you been getting on with your projects?
It’s been lovely to see pairs of Treasure Socks at various stages on needles, and there have been some discussions about what size to knit to as well – I’ve added a bit more information and a couple of photos which might help to the pattern page, but the short version of what I’ve written is just that you need to make sure that you keep your floats pretty loose and stretch the stitches around your needle(s) on a regular basis to keep everything open and flexible.
If the Treasure Socks and colourwork don’t float your boat, there are plenty of other Winwick Mum patterns for you to choose from. Did you know that I’ve designed over 70 sock patterns now? Some of them are for West Yorkshire Spinners and other places but they still count as a Winwick Mum pattern which you can use for the KAL 🙂 Until I counted them up, I hadn’t realised there were quite so many! That’s not including shawls, cowls and mittens which you’ll also find on the Patterns and Printables page (and no, you might not find them all on that page as I’ve realised I’ve still got some to add – a job for later this year! 🙂 )
My project for this year is a pair of Treasure Socks for me to wear (I’ll keep the ones I knitted for the pattern as a sample), and I’m knitting mine in Milk Bottle and Summer Sunset. I’ve finished the first sock – I was half way down the sock anyway after knitting for the pattern post photos, so that felt like an easy win this week! I’m still in two minds whether to unravel the Spring Green sample or whether to carry on and make myself a second pair … I’ll see how the month goes on!
I’ve also made some progress on the Pickled Cabbage socks that I said I was going to start the other week. I’ve even found the yarn that I want to use as a contrast too! It appears that I’m a bit of a squirrel with yarn leftovers and for reasons known best to myself (and clearly forgotten), I tend to put them in places that are obvious at the time but not when I want to find them later!
Oh, those little shortbread stars are so moreish! I’ve had to limit myself to a few at a time or I would surely snaffle the lot!
Shall we have a look at some of your projects now? Thank you so much for emailing me and sharing them on social media, it’s been lovely to see them all!
To take part in the Winter Haven KAL, you just need to use Winwick Mum yarn and/or a Winwick Mum pattern and it’s been great to see your choices!
Let’s take a look at some of the yarn choices for the Treasure Socks first. I have enjoyed seeing which colours you’ve picked out!
Helen has chosen a combination of Stylecraft and West Yorkshire Spinners …
These are going to be sparkly Treasure Socks! West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Silent Night and Dusty Miller make a great combination and I’m looking forward to seeing how these knit up …
More West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Spring Green and Milk Bottle …
Joanna has chosen a striking combination of pinks (which may be West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Summer Sunset) and black …
Melissa is going to use West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Hidden Gem with Dusty Miller, another lovely combination!
There are some good choices there, aren’t there? I can’t wait to see how they knit up!
There have been LOADS of Treasure Socks started and you can see more colour choices here; some are Winwick Mum colours and others aren’t, but they all look brilliant. I’ve tried to include everybody’s photo this week, so my apologies if I’ve missed yours out … I do try to show as many as I can!
Lenore’s Treasure Socks contrast colour is exactly the same colour as her beautiful agate stone …
Here’s the Spring Green and Milk Bottle colourway underway …
Carol has chosen to use West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Autumn Leaves, and it looks lovely! Those colourwork shapes do look a little like leaves, don’t they?
Chris’s version uses West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Summer Sunset, the same as mine!
Dawn is using West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Rum Paradise, so her shapes are going to be rainbow-coloured!
Isn’t this pretty? The contrast colour here that Gill has chosen is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Wildflower …
Helen has made a good start on her Treasure Sock using West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in one of the Zandra Rhodes shades … and she’s got no excuse to not be knitting as it looks like she’s being weighed down by her furry helper!
Jan has tried a sample of the colourwork to see what she thinks before launching into her full sock. It’s a really good idea, especially if you’re new to colourwork as it gives you a flavour of what’s to come …
Jane is using one of the West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply Christmas colours (I think it’s Vintage Tinsel) which is going to look great with the main colour green …
Kathryn has made a great start here, but was unsure of her colour choice … she’s using West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Pennyroyal and Wood Pigeon, and you can see that the colours are very similar. The shapes will stand out better with a completely different contrast, and Kathryn made the decision to start again – you’ll see her new version next week!
Kristina is also using West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Autumn Leaves – or at least, I think she is, it’ll be good to see how her sock turns out as she gets further down the leg!
Laura is also using West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Vintage Tinsel, and it looks quite different to the version with the green contrast above, doesn’t it? I love the way the yarn changes when it’s put together with a different contrast!
Liz is getting on well with her sock – and is also re-watching the Detectorists series! She said she’s worked her way through the episodes very quickly (it really is a binge-worthy watch!), and she’s going to have her socks finished in no time too!
Finally for this week, Pippa has chosen West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Rum Paradise with a darker grey background, and it looks fabulous!
They’re all so lovely! You’ll recognise some Winwick Mum colours in there, but there are others too – these socks are a great way to show off a treasured yarn!
I also thought that the Treasure Socks would look great in solid colours – and I was right! What do you think of these? Don’t they look great?
Laura’s red and white colourway will be very striking when it’s finished …
Louise’s cute supervisor is making sure that she gets on with the job in hand! That combination is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Pennyroyal with Milk Bottle …
Hilary’s colours are more subtle and I can’t wait to see her finished socks; I think the blend of darker red with grey will look amazing!
This is a good combination too, isn’t it? I do like Diane’s shade of orangey-red – her shapes look like autumn leaves!
Donna has chosen this lovely blue for her socks – and she’s going to be writing up her notes in her Project Super Socks book too! It’s been wonderful to see so many people start to list their sock projects in their notebooks, and if you’re seeing this purple book for the first time, you can read more about it here.
Finally for today, Becky has chosen to reverse the colours so that her paler colour is the contrast, and that looks great! The cream colour is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Milk Bottle and I think the blue might be Juniper.
That’s such a wonderful selection of Treasure Socks – I am over the moon to see so many of them, and I hope you’re enjoying knitting them!
You don’t have to knit Treasure Socks to take part in the Winter Haven KAL though, and here are some other projects …
Nessa has knitted the Thoughtful Cowl in this beautiful yarn …
Caz started her pair of Treasure Socks but then decided to work helical knitting after her first set of motifs – I think that looks great!
Helen has cast on a pair of Split Mittens and they’re going to be super-cosy …
Jean has cast on a pair of Boxy Rib Socks. They feature a simple texture pattern to move the sock on from the Basic 4ply Socks and they’re going to look great in these colours!
Julie is knitting a pair of Basic 4ply Socks alongside her Treasure Socks, and they’re looking lovely in this yarn!
Finally for this week, Karen is designing her own pair of spring colourwork socks, and using Spring Green for the main body of her socks. It’s looking great, isn’t it?
Do tag me into your photos, or email if that’s easier as I love to see what you’re working on. More project photos to come next week!
🕯 Something green
My flowers from last week are still hanging in there – they’ve lasted longer than I thought they would and I have really appreciated seeing – and smelling – them every morning when I’ve come into the living room.
🕯 Light it up!
Big daughter bought me these boxes of wax melts from The Botanical Candle Co for Christmas a year or so ago and I’ve been using them sparing so that they’ll last … yes, yes, I know that I’m trying to live more by “why save the good stuff till later?” and so I’ve got them out to enjoy this month. There are three winter fragrances: Half Light, Last Light and First Light and I love them all. Every time I set one going on the wax burner I think it’s my favourite – until I melt the next one!
Have you got a favourite smell for your Haven Space?
🕯 Listen up!
What have you been listening to this week?
I’ve been catching up with the Off Air with Jane and Fi podcast on Times Radio – I’m waaaay behind as I’m still listening to episodes from before last year’s Coronation, but there’s no rush and I’m enjoying catching up. It’s actually quite interesting listening to the news from such a long time ago as I can see what changes have happened since!
I don’t listen to many knitting podcasts but before Christmas, I was a guest on the EweKnitty podcast with Jane and Kelly – we had a really fun time making the episode and if you fancy watching it (it’s a video podcast), you can find it by clicking here.
How about you? Are you a podcast person? Have you got any recommendations to share?
I said last week that self-care means different things to different people, and I hope you’ve been able to find some time to look after yourself above taking time to knit.
My self-care last year wasn’t a conscious New Year decision, but I found myself making lots of choices and changes that made me feel safe – I didn’t get hot flushes (flashes) or night sweats through perimenopause, but I did get anxiety and paranoia by the bucketload and I found that doing things that made me feel safe was the best way to look after myself. I started off the year looking into my finances – I didn’t really know very much about my pension or my ISA (I wasn’t even quite sure what an ISA was!) and it might sound crazy to be saving money but not know anything about it, but I know now that I’m not alone in that. I started by checking out my State Pension forecast (if you live outside of the UK, you may have something similar that you can check) as you can fill in the gaps to make sure that you’re going to get the full allowance. I’m nowhere near retirement age so this might have felt like a completely unnecessary thing to do, but I became obsessed with the idea that I would end up having to live in a tiny room in a retirement home without my yarn or my cats and dog, even though I know that my family wouldn’t let that happen – the mind does strange things to you sometimes! Then, entirely by chance (or was it? the Universe brings you what you need at the time!), I came across Ann Wilson, The Wealth Chef, and I did the Financial Freedom University course. It was such a relief to be able to shine a light on something that seemed very scary at the time, and now I am comfortable with exactly what’s going on with my pension, I know what an ISA is and why we should all have one, and most importantly, I know what “enough” is for me. It’s different for all of us, a bit like our view of self-care, and in hindsight, I can see that learning what that is was the biggest act of self-care for me in 2023.
My husband and I have also updated our Wills, and this is something that I believe everyone should do, not least so that your family know that they won’t have to face legal hassles as well as their grief when you go. You can get a Will written for free at certain times of year, or you can use an online service, or you can go to a solicitor for help … if you’re a creative like me, it turns out that you need to include your copyright in your Will too, so that it doesn’t get lost when you die. This sort of stuff can make you feel a bit creeped out, but I tried to look at it as a business contract and take the emotion out of it all and that definitely helped.
I don’t think I had appreciated before this last year how important it is to look back on what we have done for ourselves, and last year ended up being a very transformative year for me. It’s made me think about self-care as something that really is a non-negotiable and we should always do things for ourselves that will make us feel safe, or our future selves will appreciate (even if that’s simply emptying the dishwasher to save time later!), or will make some kind of huge difference to us later on that we’ll thank ourselves for when that time comes. I’m sure it’s an age thing, I’m sure I didn’t think so much about what future me would appreciate when I was younger, and I certainly never considered that I’d ever really need a pension (that’s what old people had!), but it might be a bit of a worry if I still thought I was in my teens and immortal! 🙂
This year, I’m planning to be a bit more thoughtful about how I look after my body. I have every intention of sticking around for as long as I can, and I want to be as well as I can be! I’ve finished reading The Book of Lymph by Lisa Levitt Gainsley and I loved it! I grew up in a family that used alternative and complementary therapies so it’s not something too far out of my comfort zone, and I like the idea that you can help yourself to be well – prevention is always better than cure!
I started reading This Book May Save Your Life by Dr Karan Rajan in the bath the other night (more self-care!) but there’s always a risk with reading a book in the bath, especially one that makes you laugh. Fortunately, it came out of the bathroom as dry as it went in! This is very well-written, and I’m enjoying it – a text book of sorts, but written in an engaging way.
I’ve been dipping in and out of Clean and Green by Nancy Birtwhistle this week too, and I’ve made myself a bottle of her Pure Magic (Toilet Magic) recipe and wow! We have some limescale issues here and it’s sorted those out effortlessly! I’m very impressed!
This section has become a bit more intense than I had intended 🙂 I’d love to know your thoughts – and what self-care looks like for you too!
🕯 Thank you
I wrote last week about using your notebook to write down things that you are grateful for, or perhaps those flashes of inspiration that might come to you as you’re sitting in your Haven Space. It’s surprising sometimes what pops into your mind when you least expect it, when you can let your mind wander and that noisy “monkey mind” which likes to keep a running commentary going in your head is pre-occupied with what’s going on with your hands.
This week, I have been grateful for some sunshine for a change. I love these crisp wintery mornings with pink sunrises over bare branches! I’ve also been grateful for the NHS as a friend needed an emergency blood transfusion and was able to go into hospital straight away – and I’m grateful to those people who donate blood too. I haven’t donated blood for years and maybe I need to look into doing that again, but when I did, I didn’t really think about who would get the blood that I donated … and now I know someone who has been made well again by someone else who took the time to donate their blood. It’s an incredibly generous gift.
I’m also grateful to you, for connecting with me this week!
Thank you for being part of the KAL with me, I have so enjoyed having you be here with me! Don’t forget to keep tagging me into your posts so that I can have a nosey into your cosy spaces and see your projects – the hashtag is #WinterHavenKAL.
I hope you have a wonderful week in your Winter Haven – see you next Friday! xx