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!
Well hello to you! It's a wet and miserable Wednesday here in Winwick (how's that for at attempt at some midweek alliteration?!) and I'm very glad that I took the dog for a walk earlier on. Thank you so much for all your comments on my last post - I'm delighted you enjoyed coming to Chester with us, and thank you for all the suggestions and recipes for big daughter too - we're both very grateful to you for taking the time to write! Today, I'm sitting here with my photos from the weekend and remembering that it didn't rain all the time ...
It did rain quite a lot on Saturday, though. Saturday was World Wide Knit in Public Day and also West Yorkshire Spinners day at Black Sheep Wools, my lovely local yarn shop. There were lots of samples of garments and accessories for people to see and yarn to squish. Richard, the Sales and Marketing Director from WYS, gave talks on the company and the breeds of sheep fleece they use in their yarns, with more fleece to squish (it was a very squishy kind of day!). I was there to talk socks and so was my talented crochet toy designer friend Emma Varnam, who designed the Bo Peep Great Adventures toys (these are so lovely with their matching clothes for children).
Yes, Emma is knitting a sock - she's using WYS Winwick Mum Wildflower!
We had a lovely time chatting to customers and to each other, eating the cake from the Black Sheep Wools cafe (mmm ... lemon and blueberry, my new favourite!) and generally having a very nice time.
Small daughter went back to school after a week off on holiday last week and oh boy, there's so much to catch up on! I was looking through photos and realised that there are so many - the time goes so fast! I've not uploaded everything that I photographed, but do be warned there are a LOT of pictures in this post!
Over the holidays, we managed a rare family day out in Chester with a walk along the walls with the dog and Sunday lunch in a lovely dog-friendly pub.
I love walking the Chester walls; it's such a fascinating timeline - the original walls are Roman, overlooking what was once a port ...
“This is how I have heard what you’ve just said, did you mean it to sound like that?”
One of the conversations that we have had more than once with both our girls as they have been (and still are) negotiating teenage social conversations is to think about how their words are heard by someone else. This might sound like an odd conversation to have with your teenage daughter, but it’s one that we’ve felt has been important over the years; a variation of “think before you speak”.
Well, here I am with the results of another birthday giveaway! Thank you so much for all your lovely comments and for letting me know how many pairs of socks you've knitted. It's fantastic to see so many new sock knitters as well as those of you who are still using the Sockalong pattern for your socks. I love that the pattern works so well for you!
So, onto the important part - who has won? Firstly, let me remind you of this year's prizes. There are two of them:
They both comprise of a signed copy of Super Socks, a large mug decorated with rabbits with tea, coffee and hot chocolate so that we can have a brew together whilst we're knitting, a bag of Cadbury's Nibbly Fingers (mmm, soooo good with a cup of tea!), a ball of your choice of the new Winwick Mum yarn colourways (I've shown Hidden Gem and Seascape here but it was up to you to choose) and a specially-made stitch marker by Indi of Front Pocket Studio to match the yarn that you chose. Oh, and a Winwick Mum Sockalong badge too!
Before I tell you the winners, though, I'm going to give you an update on the numbers of pairs of socks that have been knitted with the Sockalong basic sock pattern. This is never going to be an accurate figure as not everybody who has used the pattern will be looking at the blog to add their numbers to the total, but it's a bit of fun for this birthday time of year.
If you're new to the blog, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about and the fact is that four years ago today, I published the first of the Winwick Mum Sockalong tutorials to help beginners knit their own pair of socks, never once imagining what pressing that "publish" button on my blog would start.
Nope, never ever did I imagine that I would be writing this post and that the Sockalong would have taken on the life that it has. I never expected that tens of thousands of people would be in the Winwick Mum Sockalong Facebook group, learning and helping each other on a daily basis, or that they would still be chatting in the Knit n Natter Facebook group. I certainly never expected that I would have written and published two books (Super Socksis the paperback version of the online tutorials and More Super Socks builds on those skills) or winning awards or that four years later, I would be seeing the Winwick Mum name on the ball bands of my favourite West Yorkshire Spinners 4ply yarn.
Most of all, I never imagined that those Sockalong tutorials would still be helping so many people in so many countries to knit their first pair of socks four years on. But oh my life, am I glad that they are! It's truly amazing to be part of the sock revolution that seems to be sweeping the world now, to be cheering sock-knitting beginners on from the sidelines and to know that the words that were written in my little corner of the world here in Winwick have played such a part. I love knowing that people are knitting socks for themselves, for others, to support their own health and because it's just a lovely thing to do.
It’s not always easy when you’re rushing around at breakneck speed, but I do try my best to remember that life isn’t always about being in the fast lane but is also about taking the side roads. I’ve noticed – and perhaps you have too – that there’s a tendency to think “I’ll sit down when I’ve done this” or “I’ll go and see so and so when I’ve got more time” but there’s always one more job to do and never enough time. Sometimes it takes something big to jolt us out of our complacency that there’s always tomorrow – in my case, I went back to playing the piano after my Mum died having spent years thinking “I’ll have lessons again when I’ve got more time and spare cash”; there was never any more time or spare cash but there’s nothing like a death in the family to remind you that life really is very short and it’s OK to do things just for you from time to time.
Over this last year, my husband and I have been trying to make sure that we spend more time together. Being self-employed is wonderful on the one hand but on the other, it can be very hard to switch off and take time out. Our working days are long and although we loved the idea of going out for date nights to spend time just being us again, the reality was that for a variety of reasons - late meetings, terrible traffic, babysitting issues, general exhaustion at the end of the day, didn’t fancy a meal out, too wet and windy to walk the dog, nothing on at the pictures we wanted to see – none of them insurmountable but all of them sufficient to make it feel more of a chore than we wanted and we just didn’t manage it. Time ticked by.