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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Two more sleeps before Yarndale!

Yarndale is getting closer!

I’m going up to Skipton tomorrow to put up the Yarndale Sock Line socks and help out generally – it’ll be fascinating to see “behind the scenes” and I’ll be sure to take photos for a future blog post. 

I’m really looking forward to seeing lots and lots of you over the weekend – don’t forget there’s a Sock Clinic and Social in the Knit n Natter Lounge from 12pm-2pm each day, so do come and say hello.  I’ll have some copies of my book for sale too, in case anyone wants one on the day.  Bring your socks to show off, your questions which I’ll attempt to answer and your pennies for some lovely yarn – you’re going to be spoilt for choice!  Sock brooches will be a fun way to recognise each other but are not essential J

Yarndale is a happy celebration of all things yarny and although I’ve had a sad week, I intend to join in with the celebrations and forget about “real life” for a while.  I won’t be offended at all if you don’t ask me how I am, just come and chat as you would do if we met for a coffee (or tea, as I don’t drink coffee J).  

See you there! xx



Tuesday, 22 September 2015

More socks!

Thank you so much to everyone who continues to send socks for the Yarndale Sock Line.  I've collected another six pairs from Black Sheep Wools this morning and I think that there are some more waiting for me in Skipton too.

I haven't forgotten my promise to put them all up on Pinterest so that everyone can see them, but an unexpected family death last week has disrupted all of our plans as we try to come to terms with what has happened.  I hope you will understand.

I will put the pictures up as soon as I can and will do it this week if I am able to, but it might be after Yarndale now (yes, I will still be going and I hope to see lots of you and your socks there!).  Rest assured that all of the socks will be documented and a careful note made of them and where they eventually go.

Here are the pairs I picked up at Black Sheep this morning.  All of the socks are so lovely, and I know each pair is going to be a very special gift.



It's only four sleeps now until Yarndale so the countdown has begun!  


Monday, 14 September 2015

Monthly Musing - September 2015 - Belonging

We’re very sociable creatures, us humans.  We like to fit in, we like to belong, and it’s good for our wellbeing.   I hadn’t really thought too much about this in recent years, and certainly not from my own point of view.  My girls have variously belonged to youth clubs and forums, Brownies, sports clubs and music groups and that’s something that we actively encourage our children to do so that they broaden our horizons, meet new friends and develop their skills.

For too many adults, though, that’s something that gets forgotten as we get older.  It wasn’t until over the last year when I’ve got involved with a couple of knit ‘n’ natter groups that I’ve been reminded of just how powerful the act of belonging actually is.  We spend time with like-minded people, we become involved in a communal activity, and we have the opportunity to have conversations outside of those that we would normally have.  Our horizons are broadened once more and our well-being tanks are topped up.

I don’t think that it matters what sort of group you belong to (although one that lifts people up rather than pulling them down is obviously the most beneficial); I think it is the act of belonging that is the important thing.  So what if you aren’t the best golfer in the club?  If you enjoy being on the course in the fresh air in the company of other golfers, that’s the main thing.  Your skill level at whatever you do is largely irrelevant, in my opinion.  As long as you are doing something that you love to do then your wellbeing is automatically improved.  And that is where I think the magic happens.  Once our wellbeing improves, suddenly it opens up other doors in our lives.  I know of people who found the courage to return to studying years after they left school, fulfilling a life-long ambition.  I know of people who, after spending too much time on their own and afraid to socialize, became able to hold conversations with people they would never have dreamed of talking to - and just because they felt that they belonged.

We never like to think that our children are being left out at school and yet we seem to be happy in our older years being on our own.  Left to our own devices or left out?  I’m sure that sometimes the answer is both, and only we can decide whether that makes us happy or not.  From my own experience, being in the company of others who enjoy doing something that I also like to do, and have experience, knowledge and passion for the activity to share is something that I had not realised I was missing until it became a part of my life.  Our wellbeing tanks can never be too full, but they can be too empty and I believe it’s important to do something about that while we can.


Thursday, 10 September 2015

What a lot of socks! #Yarndalesockline

The story so far ...



This is where we left it yesterday, and I promised that I would show you what was in all of those packets.  First though, stand with me for a minute as we look at that pile on the table.  In every one of those envelopes, bags and boxes is something that someone has taken the time to knit and send to give to someone else who needs some more love in their lives.  That's a huge pile of woolly love and my heart swells with gratitude just to look at them.

Time to get to work.  Lucy and I get a system going.  She's in charge of passing the parcels across the table whilst I get to open them and log them all on the computer. 



As you can probably imagine, it takes us quite a while!  Not just because there's a huge pile of parcels to get through, but because we have to admire each pair, ooh and ahh over the colours of the yarns and the yarn content (these are some really beautiful yarns!) and read all the little messages on the tags.  Even though I know they're not for me, each message makes me feel wonderfully special, so I know that when the socks reach their final owners they're going to make them feel fantastic.


Eventually, we've got a pile of socks on the table. 


Lucy's Studio table isn't big enough to fit them all on to photograph, so we both scoop up armfuls of socks (and yes, at this point I really did think I was in sock heaven!) and carry them through to the bigger table in the cafe.  There are 52 pairs here, plus my own two pairs so that's 54 pairs of socks on this table.


54 pairs!!  Can you believe it?  I'm almost speechless to see them all laid out like this and it's really quite an emotional moment.  All of this yarn from all over the world - from England, Wales, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa - and I know there are more pairs on their way from the corners of the globe too.  Goodness.  What a kind lot of people you are.  Thank you!


Can you see your socks?  I tried to take photos so that you could spot them, although I will be photographing all the socks individually and putting the pictures onto Pinterest so that anyone can go and look at them.  I'll also be keeping a list of everyone who's contributed too so that we can keep track of whose socks go where.




Socks of all shapes and sizes, plain and patterned, from tiny baby socks to huge man socks - they will all be on the Yarndale Sock Line and there will be even more photos for those of you who can't make it to Yarndale.


It's been a wonderful response to my original blog post about a charity sock knit and I'm touched that so many of you have wanted to get involved, especially when I know that some of you have only just learned to knit socks at all.

I can't wait to see them all up on the Yarndale Sock Line - only two weeks to go now!  Don't forget that you can still get involved if you want to as you can bring your socks to Yarndale, and my local yarn shop, Black Sheep Wools, have kindly said that you can post them there now as I won't be back in Skipton until the Yarndale weekend.  The Black Sheep address is Warehouse Studios, Glaziers Lane, Culcheth, Warrington, WA3 4AQ.  I'll be there for a Sock Clinic on 16 September (11am-1pm) so I'll be able to pick up any last-minute socks then.

I'll be busy now until Yarndale photographing the socks and getting the pictures up on Pinterest, so I'll let you know when that's done.  Thank you again for all of your socks, and for the messages and treats that came with them - and if you're not a sock knitter, for being part of this sock-fest by reading along!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Look what the postman brought!



I've been waiting for this day for quite some time and I wasn't disappointed!  In fact, I was quite stunned by the number of socks that have been delivered for the Yarndale Sock Line, thank you to everyone who's sent a parcel.  Lucy and I had a fine time opening them all, we were so excited to see what was in them. 

I bet you can't wait to see what's in those parcels either!  I'll tell you all about it tomorrow J



Monday, 7 September 2015

Normal service has been resumed


Both the girls are back at school and college and life is returning to it's normal routine.  It usually takes me about a week to re-adjust after the holidays but it's nice to make a start by getting out with the dog for our morning walks again.  

He needs to get back into routine as well, not least by remembering not to hurtle off in delight at being back in familiar territory without so much as a backwards glance in my direction.  I had no plans to start my week of gently easing myself back into life-after-holidays chasing at full pelt after a dog who has decided to do his own thing but clearly the dog had other ideas!

At home, the house is quieter than it has been for weeks.  The sun is streaming in through the open front door and the Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine) by the front door is still smelling beautiful.  It's a tranquil moment and I'm tempted to sit here all day drinking it in whilst the sun warms my face.  But - there are Plans to be made.  The house needs to get back into some kind of order, there's de-cluttering to be done (there's always de-cluttering to be done - either I'm really bad at doing it or the junk breeds quietly in corners when I'm not looking) and there are socks to be knitted.  Yarndale is in just over two weeks' time now and I'm so looking forward to a whole weekend in Skipton talking yarn, socks and revelling in being surrounded by heavenly squishiness.

Today, though, now that the dog and I are home in one piece, it's time to get back to our normality. Lists are made, calendars are checked, meals are planned.  I am resisting the urge to try to do everything in one day as I know it won't happen and then I'll beat myself up for not being Superwoman.  There's no rush.  Baby steps, as the Flylady says.  I'm revving my engines, preparing for take off, but a taxi down the runway is enough for today.  




Saturday, 5 September 2015

Book signing day!


The Winwick Mum Sockalong started on 3 May 2015.

Did I have any clue then how many people around the world would be knitting socks, sometimes fulfilling lifetime ambitions to do so, and swelling the contents of their sock drawers?

Could I ever have guessed how much I would enjoy being connected to so many knitters, sharing conversations and experience across the world and seeing social media working at it's very best?

Did I ever imagine, just four short months ago, that I would be sitting in Black Sheep Wools talking socks and signing copies of my very own book?

We never know how our lives are going to unfold, but I do know that I am very grateful for the direction that mine is taking.  I could happily talk socks from morning till night and never get tired of seeing people's achievements, from the first cast on to the "happy dance" in their new pair of socks.  Who knows what will happen from here, how many more pairs of socks will come into existence and how many people can tick "sock knitting" off their lifetime lists - but I couldn't have got here without your support, so thank you.  Thank you very much. 


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Two more sleeps!


It's nearly book signing day at Black Sheep Wools.  Am I excited?  Just a little bit!  Yes, of course I'm hoping that one or two people might want to come and buy a copy of my book, but most of all I'm looking forward to meeting friends old and new and seeing pairs of hand knitted socks!  

If you're free on Saturday 5 September between 11.00am and 1.00pm, then why not come along to Black Sheep Wools in Culcheth and say hello?  I'm happy to help out if you're stuck so bring your socks, or ask questions if you want to get started.  Black Sheep have a great selection of yarns and needles and fabulous cake in their cafe so what's not to like? J

I hope to see you there!