The decorations are down and although everywhere looks very bare now, it's actually quite a relief to be able to get in and clean all the surfaces properly without playing domino run with Christmas cards!
So, what's new in Winwick?
Not much, weather-wise - we've still got endless rain and grey skies, although we're very fortunate that we've missed the floods and they have mostly stopped being the main news item now too. However, for the people affected they will be at the forefront of their lives for some time to come, and it makes me think of them every time I see another dismal weather forecast.
The rain has provided a good excuse to stay in by the fire - even the dog has been reluctant to head out of doors. Small daughter's socks are finished at last. These turned out to be quite a project as her feet seemed to have grown every time I tried the socks on her so getting to the toes seemed like an endless task! She's very pleased with them, though!
I was very pleased with this nifty gadget which eventually helped me to get the socks the right size (they're a bit big now, actually, after having been too small previously). It's a Socker's Rule from Rosie's Moments, a lovely wooden ruler marked in both inches and centimetres with a handy foot size gauge on both sides and can be used for both cuff down and toe up socks. You can get a plastic version called a Sock Ruler from here which works in exactly the same way but I was tempted most by the wooden one.
There was also a treat in the very speedily-delivered package (considering that I ordered it just before Christmas, I was both amazed and delighted!) - two new stitch markers! It's very handy to have two different ones for sock knitting as they mark the different gusset decreases and show very easily where your round starts. I particularly love the little sheep ...
complete with tiny tail!
I also treated myself to one of these ... can you guess what it is?
It's a digital scale! It is rather futuristic-looking, isn't it, but I like it.
I have an old-fashioned pan-and-weights set of scales which suits me just fine when I'm cooking, but isn't great for weighing yarn (which sometimes you need to do if a pattern calls for it, or if you want to split your sock yarn into two balls). This one by Joseph Joseph folds up into a very small size which is great for space-saving in your kitchen.
I've been using it recently for a few yarny ideas that I've had, and just last night to split a ball of yarn that I bought from Yarndale to start these socks ...
They're going to be a plain'n'easy pair knitted for me in Lang Super Soxx yarn which has cashmere in it - it's gorgeously soft and is lovely shades of brown and purple (which actually looks far nicer than it sounds) and is going to be a bit of light relief between knitting these ones ...
These socks are going to be a new pattern later this year (if I write it here, it has to happen, right?!) and they're in Eden Cottage Yarns 4ply sock yarn which is very lovely and a wonderful shade of turquoise - our grey weather isn't doing much for the photo colours at all today!
Making sure that I have plenty on my needles is all part of my Year of Taking Care. Knitting keeps me calm and sane, and the world is a happier place when I can manage to get a few rounds in, even if it is only a few rounds in a day. I'm also busy de-cluttering - I know, I know, I write about this every year and don't seem to be making much headway, but even I can understand that the less mess there is to clear up, the more time I have for doing things that I want to do!
I've also started a new Future Learn course today - Future Learn is a collaboration of universities from around the world offering free courses on a huge variety of subjects. They're run online over a few weeks, very easy to follow and all very interesting. I did one last year on Hadrian's Wall and this one is on the Orion constellation. There's no deadline, no timescale, you can jump in and out ... it's definitely worth a look!
It looks like the rain might actually have stopped so I'm going to take the opportunity to scoot out with the dog - if you're back at work and study yourself today, I hope it wasn't too bad!