Award-winning creative lifestyle blog featuring the hugely popular free Sockalong sock-knitting tutorials for beginners – let the fun begin! I'm Christine. I live in Winwick, a small village in Cheshire, and this is where I write about what makes me happy: my family, knitting, gardening, home-making, enjoying the outdoors. I hope your visit makes you happy too!
After another sunny weekend, it's overcast and drizzly here this morning and I am not complaining at all! I seriously can't remember the last time we had such a continuous run of sunny weather and I'm not complaining about that either, but it's good to see the rain again.
It's Monday too, the start of a whole new week. It stretches ahead of me, blank pages to be filled with ... work, shopping, knitting, after school clubs, dog walks, gardening, all kinds of jobs that are best done before the school holidays (you know, the sort that might just involve a brew with a friend ;) ) ... and I am blessed to be able to do it all. However busy we are, however much we don't fancy doing something on our list, there's always a parallel universe in which we would give anything to be doing that instead of what we are currently engaged in and I never forget that.
And on that happy note let me show you what's going on in our little patch of the world this week :)
My "office" which relocated to a shady patch underneath an umbrella in the garden during the sunny days has returned indoors to the kitchen table. It would go back to the desk in my study if I could find it under the piles of paper and stuff that appears to have grown on it like some kind of peculiar mould, but for now I'm quite happy here because I'm closer to the kettle.
Do you ever have those times when you realise that you’ve not done something that you intended to do, feeling your stomach sink in that moment of “Uh oh, how do I fix that?” panic? Sometimes it can be something pretty big (“my MOT certificate is really out of date”) and sometimes it’s not really that big at all (“I forgot to buy bread rolls”), but still that plummeting feeling can catch you unawares.
I forgot to write the Monthly Musing last month. Did you notice? Did it ruin your day? I thought not (although apologies if it did). After a few moments of “Uh oh, how do I fix that?”; “Can I write it and backdate it and pretend nothing was wrong?” and “How on earth could I forget that?!”, I realised that there was really no point in worrying about it. On a scale of 1 to 10, it wasn’t up there with anything life-threatening or seriously problem-causing; my Monthly Musings are something that I write because I like to. The deadlines are my own, and if I miss a month (intentionally or not) then the world doesn’t stop.
We've been on a bit of a mission in our house recently to try to reduce the amount of plastic that we've using. It's no secret that the levels of plastic that are filling the oceans, the hedgerows and the landfill sites are reaching a worrying level, and it's only by us all doing our bit that we're going to make any kind of difference. We've always tried to shop consciously and to try not to send any more rubbish to landfill than we can help, but since watching the episode of the BBC programme Blue Planet II about plastic in the ocean (it's episode 7, here's a preview of a section of it), big daughter has decided that we need to up our game.
She started off by reading this book called No More Plastic by Martin Dorey. It's only little and it's a really quick read - I'd finished it pretty much by the time I'd finished my brew - but it's full of good ideas which don't take much effort to implement.
It's been far too long since I last wrote a no-nylon sock yarn review so it's time to put that right. These socks are knitted in Whistlebare Cuthbert's Sock and I've been wearing them for quite a while now so I can give you an update on how they've got on.
The pattern is called Magic Mirror, it's a free pattern on Ravelry that I thought would be perfect for this yarn, and I'm delighted with how they turned out! My yarn is in two shades: the turquoise is called Kirk Yelthom and the pink is called Grubbit Law. They're both named after places along St Cuthbert's Way, which is a long distance walk between the Scottish Borders and Lindisfarne in Northumberland. As the Whistlebare farm is based in Northumberland, it's the perfect name for their sock yarn!
I've just been looking through my photos and I've realised that I've been busy snapping away but haven't actually shown you what I've been snapping recently! Oh, the hardship of having to do exciting things like photo shoots and go away on holiday instead of showing you the garden :) Anyway, this seemed like a good time for a catch up so here's what's been going on over the last six weeks or so.
Firstly, I finally finished the IOU Christmas socks. Here's big daughter's pair ...
Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I went to the Knit Now magazine photo shoot? Whilst I was there, I met Angela who's the editor of a brand new magazine called Your Crochet & Knitting which will be on sale for the very first time in a couple of weeks.
Well, something super-exciting has happened and I need to say thank you to you!
The nominations for the Let's Knit magazine British Knitting & Crochet Awards 2018 have been released and the voting is now open ... and I'm thrilled to tell you that I am once again nominated in the Favourite Knitting Blog category. Thank you so much to everyone who nominated me for this Award - it's the third time that Winwick Mum has been involved and I am very grateful for your support.
It's been really interesting to see how these Awards have changed over the last three years: at first, they were dominated by yarn shops and by large commercial yarn and accessory brands, but what's been really lovely to see has been how smaller independent names - like me! - have started to appear in all of the categories. I think it shows how our crafting industry is changing and how people are much more confident about supporting smaller enterprises - a bit like shopping at a local farm shop rather than a supermarket, I suppose!
Last year, there were almost 15,000 votes for over 60 companies or individuals - like me! - in 33 categories, and this year there is a new category of Favourite Yarn for Toys to recognise the increasing interest in knitted and crocheted toys. It's tough competition and even a nomination is an honour.
If you'd like to see the posts that I wrote on the last two Awards ceremonies which were held at Alexandra Palace in London, you can find them here and here. It's quite an event, and definitely something to be in the same room with so many famous crafting people!
It always feels a bit odd to me to ask you firstly for your nomination and then for your vote - I don't really like having to do that as it feels like an imposition on your time - but that's what this post is about. I'd love for you to vote for me in the Favourite Knitting Blog category, so that more people can find out about Winwick Mum and I can hopefully help more people to discover sock knitting. I'd love to go back to the Awards ceremony this year so that I can share it with you all afterwards. I'd love to think that a chance flick through a copy of Let's Knit magazine and an article about the Awards might just be what someone needed on a day when they thought sock knitting was beyond them, and what a difference it might make.
Thank you in advance if you are able to spend a few minutes completing the voting form. You'll see lots of interesting nominations in the categories - some familiar names and others that are not so familiar - and I think you'll be impressed by the breadth of the nominations too.
The voting is open now until 30 August 2018 and everyone who votes is eligible to win a prize - this year, there are two bundles of yarn, patterns and more worth £700. Unfortunately, it's only open to UK residents so you're not able to vote if you're abroad, but I still very much appreciate your support through reading my blog and being in my Facebook groups - thank you! xx
Gosh, it's Friday again! The week has passed me by in a bit of a blur; it was school holidays here (again) last week and it always takes me some time to get back into the swing of things again.
We made the decision not to go on a beach holiday this year but instead to have short city breaks and last week we went to Granada for a few days. It's been on our list for quite a number of years but it's not been until now that we've thought it would be a good holiday for the girls as well. (There was some muttering when they realised there was no pool and no beach on the itinerary, but we did go to the Hammam al Andalus (Arab baths) which were deemed to be a suitable alternative.)
Granada is a lovely city, and easy to get to with a direct flight from Manchester. Then we hopped onto a bus and before long were in the city centre. Granada is a very diverse city and over the years has been home to Jews, Muslims and Christians, all of which is evident in the architecture and, of course, in the famous Alhambra Palaces. We stayed in the Albaicin district, originally home to the Muslim inhabitants of the city, in an apartment along the Carerra del Darro.
It's that time of year again ... Yarndale Sock Line time!
If you've never heard of the Yarndale Sock Line, let me tell you a little bit about it. Back in 2015, the year that the Sockalong started, people who had started to knit their own socks asked if it would be possible for sock bunting to be hung up at Yarndale - it would fit beautifully with Yarndale's mission to celebrate craft and creativity, and would also be an opportunity for people to show what they had learnt in the few short months since the Sockalong had started. If you've ever been to Yarndale, you'll have seen the miles and miles of bunting that decorate the entrance hall; what could be better than socks to go with it?
My lovely friend Lucy from Attic24, a sock knitter herself nowadays, was all in favour and the Yarndale Sock Line was born! The idea was that anyone who wanted to could send in socks to hang up in the Auction Mart - but then it struck me that it would be such a shame to put them away in storage after a weekend of being on display, not to mention where they would be stored (I could just imagine my husband's face when I told him that our house was to be insulated by sock bunting!). I decided that instead of single socks, I would ask for pairs which could be given away after Yarndale; it was a big ask in both time and money as yarn isn't cheap and socks can be quite time-consuming to knit, but but I had reckoned without the kindness of the crafting community and before long, pairs of socks were flooding in. The rest, as the saying goes, is history!
It was a Sunday morning and I was in a shared hotel room with one of my best friends. It had been a gloriously indulgent weekend of chatting, eating and pleasing ourselves whilst our respective families pretended they couldn’t cope without us (just for our benefit, of course!). We had been taking it in turns to get up to make the morning brew; this morning was my friend’s turn and as she had disappeared to clean her teeth just as the kettle boiled, I got out of bed to pour the water onto the tea bags.
“No, I didn’t think you’d forgotten,” I replied. “I was just saving you having to re-boil the kettle.”
“So it’s not that you think that I’m incapable of brewing up, then?”
“Of course not!”
“I could be offended by that.” I stared at her. “What?” I’ve known my friend for longer now than I’ve not known her. She is well-read, thoughtful, wise and considerate. She is without question someone I turn to when life gets a little rough and I am blessed to have her as my friend. I would never dream of doing anything that would upset her.