Yarny things

When I sat down to write my blog post for this week, I realised I had so many things to tell you that they couldn’t all possibly go in one post (socks, yarn, yarn events, the garden, out with the dog …) so I’m going to start with the yarny things and then catch up with everything else in the next couple of posts.  It’s lovely to have so many yarny things to tell you about!

First up today is to let you know about a pattern that I designed for Black Sheep Wools‘ 40th birthday and they have just released as a Make Along.  Black Sheep Wools do several Make Alongs during the year and I am delighted that they’ve decided to use my socks pattern as one of them!

They’re called Ruby Socks (for the ruby anniversary) and they’ve got sheep on them – well, it was too good an opportunity to miss, wasn’t it?!

Red socks modelled on feet.  The model is standing on a wooden pallet.  There are black and white colourwork sheep on the socks

A red colourwork sock featuring black and white sheep, modelled on a foot, is resting over a black and white canvas boot

A red colourwork sock featuring black and white sheep, modelled on a foot, is worn with a black and white canvas boot

A close up of black and white colourwork sheep on a red sock

Source for above photos: www.blacksheepwools.com

Oh, I had a lot of fun with these socks, and particularly those black sheep that were doing their own thing because isn’t that what black sheep do?

A pair of red colourwork socks featuring black and white sheep, modelled on feet

The two rows of sheep at the top are colourwork but the single black sheep are added with duplicate stitch, which means you can put them wherever you’d like to – or not have any naughty black sheep wandering about your socks at all, if that’s what you’d prefer!

As always, the pattern is based on my Basic 4ply Socks pattern so you can get help from the Sockalong tutorials if you need it – you never know, this might be the pattern you’ve been waiting for to start knitting socks!  You can also find colourwork help in my Easy Colourwork Socks tutorial so there’s no reason why you can’t give them a go if you like the look of them.

The sock pattern is available as a digital download, a paper pattern and in a kit with the yarn (West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Rouge, Milk Bottle and Liquorice), and you can find all the details here on the Black Sheep Wools website.


Next up is news of a yarn festival … it’s been so good to see the yarn festivals back again after everything shut down over pandemic years, and it’s been great to see more and more of the festivals opening up again.  Coming up on 13-14 July 2024 at the Uffculme Centre in Birmingham is Yarningham, the “proudly different” yarn festival.

Here’s the information from their press release:  “Featuring dyers, independent producers and designers from across the UK, Yarningham is a weekend-long celebration of all things yarn and stitch, where all are welcome.

The two-day festival will take place in the beautiful setting of the Uffculme Centre, a former home built by the Cadbury family, now owned and operated by the NHS. Uffculme Centre is located in the leafy suburb of Moseley, Birmingham and is easily accessible by cycling, walking, public transport and car.

The festival will feature an eclectic marketplace, Designer’s Showcase, and creative workshops.  It also provides the chance to meet up with and make new yarn friends in the spacious marquee set in the tranquil gardens, or relax in the onsite café (from which all profits go directly to the NHS).

Yarningham Festival 2024 will also feature demonstrations from local guilds and groups such as Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, a yarn swap to rehome unwanted skeins and most importantly, delicious homemade cake. Advance tickets will cost £9.50 and will go on sale on 12th April 2024 on http://www.yarningham.co.uk

It sounds good, doesn’t it?  If you’re in the area or it’s not too far of a journey, it definitely sounds like one to check out!


There’s been good progress on not so small daughter’s trekking socks for Nepal.  I’ve got down to the toes on the first sock (I know, I should really have finished by now but other things got in the way this week) and now that I’ve worked out all the sizes, the next three socks should knit up super-fast.  This photo shows the heel turn which I’ve reinforced with heel stitch – you can find my reinforcing heels, soles and toes tutorial here.

A close-up of a reinforced sole on a hand knitted sock A nearly-finished hand knitted sock next to a ball of yarn and a purple sock notebook on a wooden table

I was brought up not to blow my own trumpet too loudly, but I’ve got to tell you, I am so pleased with myself that I created the Project Super Socks notebook!  (I’ve just noticed that I need to write my name on it!)  It has made such a difference to be able to write down the number of rounds, what I’ve been doing with the sole reinforcing and where to start for the toes in a place that I know that I’ll be able to find it again, so that I really will be able to whizz through the next three socks without having to stop and think about the sizing.  I knit 4ply socks so often that I have to take more time if I’m using a different yarn because otherwise I forget that the numbers aren’t the same, and this has saved me quite some considerable time in re-counting everything!


Also on the subject of socks for Nepal, my new design is nearly ready to go.  I’m on the last pattern checks with my tech editor, I’m hoping to get started on the PDF and photos this weekend and then I’ll be ready to release it to the world.  I realise I should have taken more “in progress” photos so that you can see what I’ve been up to, but I didn’t – all the best laid plans and all that 🙂

A pair of green and yellow socks on a wooden table next to a small pair of gold scissors and a short circular knitting needle

Those toes look very pointy on that sock, don’t they?  I’ve just noticed that!  They’re not so pointy when they’re on your feet 🤣


My cousin’s socks are finished now and they’re drying on the Aga after being soaked and put onto sock blockers earlier.  I don’t know if you can see but I’ve continued the heel flap heel stitch onto the heel turn as my cousin is likely to wear these whilst out with the dog and I wanted to try to reduce the chance of going through the heel too quickly – although I didn’t check whether she had pokey toes like mine so the toes are in plain knit.  Hopefully not!  (I don’t think she reads the blog so it’s fine for me to show you – although she has seen progress photos so they’re not entirely a surprise 🙂 )

A pair of blue, turquoise and white striped socks on wooden sock blockers drying on the round lid of an Aga hot plate

I’ll be seeing her in a couple of months so we’ve agreed that I’ll take them rather than post them, and that means I’ll be able to check that I’ve got the sizing right when I see her as well, which is good.


I’ve got just two more yarny things to tell you about before I leave you in peace for the day 🙂  I took this photo in May of the Camassia bulbs that I planted last year after seeing them at RHS Bridgewater in the spring last year.  I’d completely forgotten that I’d planted them and I was so pleased to see them – they were just as beautiful as I remembered them in the RHS garden.

Blue flowers on a tall stem in a garden border

Anyway, I shared this photo on Instagram but didn’t get round to writing about it on the blog as I got caught up with the Sockalong birthday, and Clare from Red Squirrel & Dune (a yarn dyer from Formby where there are both sand dunes and red squirrels 🙂 ) spotted my photo and said it had inspired her to head to the dye pots.  And this is what she came up with ..

A large skein of blue and multi-coloured yarn and a smaller skein of pale green  yarn on tissue paper

Isn’t that pretty?  The colourway is called Christine’s Camassia and I couldn’t leave that skein on it’s own in her shop, now could I?   Especially not as Clare gave me a very hefty discount and a few days later, a lovely squishy parcel arrived.  And the skein wasn’t quite on it’s own as there are more skeins on Clare’s website (and there are still some there – click here to see) but this one most definitely had my name on it 🙂   Now I need to decide what to do with it, but what a lovely reminder of beautiful flowers in my garden in the spring!


Finally for today, I can hardly believe that it was the end of April when I told you that I was going to take part in the Kate Davies Mystery Knit A Long and knit a shawl as part of her summer book club – where has the time gone?!  I realised that I’d never mentioned it again (I’m going to blame the Sockalong birthday for everything that got missed around that time) so here’s the swatch of the colours that I chose …

A piece of knitting on a needle in stripes of yellow, green, blue, brown and pumpkin colours

I’ve started Clue 1 but haven’t finished it yet – it needs to get to 231 stitches and that’s a LOT of garter stitch – but I am enjoying the easy knitting when I pick it up.  I’ve also realised that I’ll need to pick up not so small daughter’s trekking socks a lot more often than this shawl if I’m going to get them finished in time, but there’s no deadline to have it finished by and so far, I’ve managed to avoid all the spoiler photos (and I’m not posting any myself).  It’s been quite a long time since I’ve knitted anything that firstly wasn’t socks and secondly, didn’t have a deadline so there’s plenty of enjoyment going on with this project!


I think that’s us all caught up on the yarny stuff so I’ll say bye for now, hope you enjoy the rest of your Saturday and I’ll see you with more catching up very soon! xx



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13 Responses

  1. Mary Carter says:

    Lovely to hear what you have been doing! Please finish your daughters socks!

  2. Michelle Dare says:

    I can’t believe how giddy I am over the Ruby socks, a pack has already been ordered. Back in about 1983 when I was a student I started a cardigan from a Phildar pattern, red with white sheep and one black. I never finished it and lost both project and pattern (long story) and always regretted it. a few months ago I tracked down the pattern book on Ebay and today these socks appeared in my FB feed. They’re absolutely beautiful, can’t wait to start them. x

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh, you are obviously meant to have ALLL the sheep! I think I remember that Phildar pattern, the local yarn shop where I grew up sold Phildar and of course there was the famous Princess Diana sheep jumper so they were all the rage! I couldn’t resist black sheep for Black Sheep wools … and what’s more fun than being able to decide where some of the sheep go too? 🙂 xx

  3. Audrey says:

    love your sheep socks

  4. Patricia Rayner says:

    Just finished a very boring jumper for the husband so now it’s sock time! Haven’t knitted any since last year!!! I know, I’m a bad person! 😜 Living the Ruby socks and I have a grand daughter called Ruby so Ruby it is!

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh, they’re perfect for your granddaughter. It’s not bad at all to have put the socks off for a while – they’re always very patient and know that you’ll not be able to resist coming back to them one day 🤣 xx

  5. Helen says:

    I work near a field of sheep and the black lambs are so much more daring than the others. I love the socks.

  6. Liz says:

    Ooh red socks with sheep on, a delight, when I do a pair the sheep might have to be herdwick grey with white faces! First tho I have a cardigan to finish that has been a WIP since last year and as this summer is being on the cool side so far I could do with it.

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