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!
I've got a couple of exciting things to tell you about today ... firstly Yarn Shop Day is going to be on Saturday 12 May this year and it's not far off! Things are really starting to get into gear now for the shops themselves and also for Let's Knit magazine who organise Yarn Shop Day.
Yarn Shop Day is an annual event which celebrates our bricks and mortar yarn shops. There is nothing wrong at all in online stores - indeed, where would we be sometimes without them - but this is a day to celebrate all those who get up in the morning, battle to work in all weathers and open up their shops so that these little havens of wooliness are available for us to squish all kinds of yarny goodness, learn new skills, meet up with friends (some of whom we haven't met yet) and generally fill up our well-being tanks without the obligation of emptying our purses - although you and I both know that it's an unspoken rule that you never leave a yarn shop empty-handed :)
The snow came out of nowhere last Thursday; we opened the curtains and there it was. It may have been on the weather forecast but we hadn't listened to it so it was quite a surprise to see the snow falling heavily and what's more, sticking to the ground. Small daughter kept checking the school website but much to her disgust, the school was open. I think it will take a lot more snow before she gets the day off!
The dog and I headed out for a walk at a different park - Lyme and Wood Pits Country Park at Haydock which is a short drive away. It's been created on a landfill site which in turn was created following the closure of Wood Pit, the last colliery in Haydock, and although it's not a huge site, it's a good place to take the dog for a change. I discovered quite early on that it's good to vary the time and place of our walk each day otherwise he gets a bit over-confident and tends to make up his own route - often without checking that I'm following!
"Mothering Sunday is about love, so today is a day when we give thanks for those who have loved us, who love us still and care for us, whoever they are. It can be a day of happiness and sadness, but always it is about love."
It snowed last Tuesday. After waiting all winter, the white stuff finally arrived in Winwick and I was a very happy Mum. We didn't get as much as other parts of the country (I'm starting to become convinced that Winwick is situated over a hitherto-unknown volcanic hotspot and not, as was suggested, that it is anything at all to do with the fumes from our poorly Aga) and my heart goes out to those who are still recovering from days of being snowed in, water stand pipes and lack of heating. However, we did get enough to properly walk in rather than just admire from the window so I was straight outdoors with the dog.
Have you ever wondered about the knitting patterns that you see in magazines? About who the designers are, how they get their patterns into the magazines, who actually chooses which patterns are published?
Sometimes you open the magazine and you want to knit everything that's inside. Sometimes you don't, but more often than not there are a few things that will catch your eye from a wide variety of projects that make it worth the trip to the shops to buy the magazine. I've heard people muttering about the price of magazines but when you think that you'll pay anything from £3 for an individual pattern (and considerably more, sometimes, if you have a look around the Ravelry store) then a magazine is very good value. You might not like every pattern every time - but then you might not win with every lottery ticket that you buy and it doesn't stop you buying more, does it? ;)
Our Aga turned itself off very suddenly last week. It has been known to do this (although thankfully not often) and usually the only indication is a bad smell in the kitchen before a flurry of activity shutting down the fuel supply and opening the windows. Aga owners will nod their heads wisely and agree that Agas can be temperamental and this kind of thing can happen, whilst those who don’t have them will shake their heads in disbelief and wonder how I can have given my heart to a lump of blue metal that causes chaos in our kitchen when something goes wrong. Read more »
It seems almost incredible that a whole week has gone by since it was small daughter's half term holiday and we spent the last few days of it in London. She'd been quite poorly at the start of the week, then made a miraculous recovery and it was if the days spent in bed had never happened as we set off on the train for the capital.
It's such an easy journey to London for us here from Warrington; two hours and we're there - it takes less time than to get there than to some places that are closer in distance! My husband is often there for work but I don't go that often (the last time was in October with Lucy) so it always feels like quite an adventure. Another adventure was finding the apartment that we were staying in; big daughter came with us and it's not really practical to try to squish us all into the one room these days. It's also considerably cheaper to rent one apartment for a couple of nights than two hotel rooms, and we had more space so it worked out very well.
The girls and I had the day to ourselves on Friday as my husband was working, so I had them up and out early. The first place on their wish list was Camden Lock. It was funny that they wanted to go there as it was the place where Lucy and I chose to spend our few hours in London in October. This time, instead of walking, we took the Tube and felt very cosmopolitan as we zoomed our way around London far beneath the streets, hopping from one train to the next as if we did this all the time.
It's always exciting when a new sock yarn is launched and this week saw the arrival of the new Florist collection from West Yorkshire Spinners. It's part of their Signature 4ply range and not specifically a sock yarn at all but is perfect for all kinds of projects - it's just that I am ever-so-slightly obsessed with socks and tend to look at yarns with my sock-obsession spectacles on and never consider knitting anything else!
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the yarn earlier in the year - but of course I left it until the last possible moment before casting on and have spent the last two days with sparks flying off my needles so that I would have something to show you today. If nothing else, I'm impressed with how fast I can knit sometimes! :)
These are the colours that WYS sent me. Aren't they pretty? They're called Violet (on the left) and Foxglove (on the right) but I think you could probably have guessed that!
February's a funny month, isn't it? Unless you've got a birthday or you're waiting for a Valentine's card, nothing much seems to happen; the most exciting thing for us at the moment is that small daughter is on her school half-term holiday but she's poorly so we're keeping our fingers crossed that anything we had planned is still going to be able to go ahead.
Outside, there has finally been a sprinkling of snow but not enough on the grass to make a snowball, never mind build a snowman - and anyway, small daughter is wrapped up in bed and hasn't even noticed. She's snuggled up in my bed with me and one of the cats (the magic purr is always essential when you're under the weather); I'm catching up on blog-reading and drinking tea, being grateful for school holidays which mean that you don't have to get up and rush about (even though it's miserable to be poorly in the holidays).
Brr, it's cold! The temperature has suddenly dropped this week and I've been eagerly watching the weather reports in case there's any chance of the white stuff landing in Winwick. Google is still being very polite and telling me "No, there is no chance of snow in Winwick" without adding "you stupid woman, stop asking me!" although I am sure that it's robot-y mind is thinking that.
It was a Skipton Day yesterday and I headed up the motorway to Yorkshire to see my friend Lucy, well wrapped up against the freezing weather. Turning out of our driveway, I had to stop for a moment because there, landing very gently on the windscreen, were snowflakes. Snow!! I resisted the temptation to shout "You know nothing, Google, do you hear me, nothing!" and instead grinned my way all the way up through Lancashire to Yorkshire whilst around the car the snowflakes danced and swirled. I watched the snowflakes dancing and swirling all day out of Lucy's Studio window, but they didn't stick - perhaps just as well, but you can imagine that there might have been a little secret part of me that wouldn't have minded being snowed in up there in Skipton.
If you've ever read Lucy's blog then you'll be familiar with the hill that she can see from her Attic window - this is what it looked like yesterday as I went to get back into my car ... carefully disguised as a snowy cloud!