I'm used to my days being organised around school runs and dog walks and at the moment they aren't. I'm thoroughly enjoying not having to be up early and rushing around, watching the clock hands move with alarming speed from "on time" to "late", but it's also making me quite lethargic and I could happily spend the days doing very little at all. We've done some out-and-about-ing and some pyjama day-ing and now we're up to the clearing-out-ing which small daughter in particular is resisting quite spectacularly. I don't blame her, really; school holidays are meant to be fun, not for clearing out your bedroom (or the garage or the attic) but the amount of stuff that seems to have accumulated recently is feeling quite claustrophobic and Something Needs to be Done.
On the positive side, small daughter has found all kinds of treasures in her room that she thought were lost forever - but the downside is that now she doesn't want to part with any of them and by some kind of alchemy the amount of stuff that she owns seems to have grown to the point where there's hardly any room for her even though all she's done is opened a few drawers. I'm hoping this is just the bit where it gets worse before it gets better!
It's not all lazy news, though. I have managed to stir myself to get some things finished and I'm ahead of the game with the Yarndale Sock Line socks this year. Last year, I went to collect them from Lucy at the beginning of September and we had a wonderful morning opening all the parcels (you can read about that here). I couldn't believe how generous people had been with their time and their yarn, knitting socks to send from all over the world to be hung up on the Sock Line and then gifted. Already, I can see that this year won't be any different.
I've been able to collect the parcels from Lucy pretty much as they come in this year so that I can get them catalogued and up on Pinterest for everyone to admire a bit earlier. And admire them I am sure you all will - once again, people have been so kind and generous with their woolly gifts and I know that they are going to be very gratefully received.
I like to take my time to properly look at every pair, to see the time and care that has been spent on something that's going to be given to a stranger. Each pair, to me, feels like a smile and a hug wrapped up in yarn and it's a joy and an honour to be part of the process. Thank you so much to everyone who has sent socks so far, whether they're here with me in Winwick, waiting patiently in Skipton or somewhere in the post!
The first of the socks are up on Pinterest now - you can find the page here - and I'll be adding more pairs as they come in. I think it looks brilliant to be able to see them all together, and I will of course be telling you where all the socks are donated so that you can see where your pair has gone to brighten up someone's day. You can see where last year's pairs went here, and if you've got any suggestions for where this year's pairs might be welcome, then do let me know!
I've finished my own contribution to the Yarndale Sock Line but haven't put the label on yet so I need to get on and do that so they can be put away safely with the others. These are knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Tequila Sunrise. The colours make me think of ice lollies which is always a happy thought for me, so I hope someone else thinks so too!
I've made a start on my Yarndale sheep - currently in flat pack form - and I'm hoping to get that finished before the weekend. It's a really quick knit (or it would be if I didn't keep getting distracted by other projects ...). You can find the post about the Yarndale sheep and the pattern if you want to get involved here - there's a knit and a crochet version so there's lots of opportunity to use up some of your leftovers to increase the flock!
I've also finished my Exmoor shawl which I'm very pleased with. The colours blend from deep purple through blues to silver and back again - this yarn would have driven me mad if I'd tried to make socks with it, but it's just perfect for a shawl.
One of my favourite moments with shawl knitting is blocking when you can see the colours and the shape beautifully (even if the old towel that it's blocking on isn't the most attractive!).
When I came to the end of the pattern, I still had quite a lot of yarn left and although I had hoped that I would be able to finish with the purple, I was at the cast off point at the silver colour. I was extremely pleased with myself for managing to work out how to extend the border so that I could use up a bit more yarn and cast off with purple. I'm no maths whizz so at first the thought of working out changes to a lace pattern seemed like something quite unattainable, but with the help of some graph paper and coloured crayons, I got there in the end. It just shows what you can do sometimes when you sit down and think about it!
We've still got two weeks of the holidays left and small daughter's sterling efforts in her bedroom yesterday, a few boxes less in the attic and a trip to the charity shop mean that we all feel much less cluttered and we're going to make the most of the rest of the the summer break. It feels like a weight has been lifted!
Finally, before I go off and do something else today, I hope you won't mind if I remind you about the British Knitting Awards. I was delighted to be nominated for these industry awards earlier this year and the voting closes on 28 August. If you live in the UK and you would like to vote for me (and I would love it if you did!) then I'm in the Favourite Book and Favourite Knitting Blog categories, and you can be in with a chance to win a spa break or a rather hefty yarn bundle simply by voting. You can get through to the voting page by clicking on the picture below - and thank you! I very much appreciate all your support!