We recently had the pleasure of talking to Christine Perry AKA Winwick Mum. Christine is an expert in sock knitting who has a wonderful website where she posts all about her life, family and, of course, her knitting. Christine creates helpful "sockalong" tutorials and has worked with West Yorkshire Spinners to create her own range of Winwick Mum Yarn!
I guess we should start with the most important question, why did you start blogging?
My blog didn’t start off as a knitting blog at all but began as a contribution to our local church newsletter; I wrote short articles about life as a mum in our small village “looking for the extraordinary in the everyday” and with the pseudonym “Winwick Mum”, because I was a bit shy about publishing my work publicly!
Over time, I decided that I was enjoying writing so much that I would start a blog and it slowly evolved from the newsletter articles (they’re still on my blog as Monthly Musings) to more varied posts about my family, walking the dog, being in the garden and whatever I was creating. As I was always knitting socks, it didn’t take long for the blog to become focused on my sock knitting and I started to publish my own sock patterns. I loved being able to help people learn to knit socks and, in May 2015, I published my Winwick Mum Sockalong tutorials specifically to help beginners knit a pair of socks – and I’ve never looked back!
What inspires your work?
I am always inspired by what’s around me – not just nature and landscapes but other things that catch my eye too. For example, the first colourway of Winwick Mum yarn that I developed with West Yorkshire Spinners is called Hidden Gem, and it’s inspired by a chevron amethyst tumblestone!
I’m also inspired by my wish to help people learn to knit socks and develop their skills, so my patterns are often created to encourage someone to try something new – especially if it looks harder than it really is… I love how simple but clever patterns, can make us look like knitting superstars!
How has HiyaHiya helped with your work?
I am brand new to Hiya Hiya needles and my first experience of using them was for the review that I wrote on my blog recently.
The needles that I tried out for my review were steel interchangeable needles and I loved them! I’m not keen on sharp point needles as I tend to poke holes in my fingers but the steel tips aren’t as sharp and were very nice to knit with. The tips are shorter than the usual long circular needle that I currently use and I found that really helpful for working the gusset section of the sock as I didn’t need to make extra loops. I’m definitely a convert to the shorter tips now, and I think that this long circular with the cable that doesn’t curl up is going to be my new favourite for magic loop!
What is your favourite/go-to HiyaHiya Product?
As well as being impressed with the cable for the long circular needle, I love the accessories range that Hiya Hiya has. I have been a fan of the little coloured ball stitch markers for many years – they’re simple in style but very cute in their bright rainbow colours – and I love the iridescent unicorn scissors. Who doesn’t need a pair of those in their project bag?!
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Always socks! I have a couple of sock patterns of my own that I am currently working on and they will be released later in the year, and there may be a few other secret things in the pipeline too… I’ll be sure to tell everybody as soon as I can!
Who/ What do you draw inspiration from for your work and designs?
One of the projects that I am most proud to have worked on is my collaboration with West Yorkshire Spinners to create a Winwick Mum range of Signature 4ply yarn and patterns to go with them. There are two collections: the first is inspired by the Winwick Mum blog theme of “looking for the extraordinary in the everyday” and the four colour inspirations are Hidden Gem (a chevron amethyst tumblestone); Seascape (childhood holidays in North Wales); Wildflower (dog walks through local meadows in the Spring) and Brightside (always looking for the positive).
The second collection is Seasons and the inspirations for the colourways and patterns of the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter yarns are ploughed fields, summer sunsets, kicking through autumn leaves with the dog and a visit to the Ice Hotel in Sweden!
There’s always something to be inspired by, especially if we are able to slow down long enough to see it, and this is the premise of my blog – although sometimes it’s easier said than done!
Are there any designers or fellow bloggers you admire or have been influenced by?
We each have a different focus with our creative lives and they all encourage and inspire me with their talents and insights, often leading me to think about something in a completely different way. Isn’t that the joy of good friends? Oh, and we laugh together a great deal and being relaxed in good company is, I think, one of the best ways to fire up the creative mind that everyone has – I’m always fizzing with ideas after we’ve met up!
What are your plans for the future? Have you got anything in the pipeline?
Like most creatives, there’s always something noodling away in the back of my mind, and for me, it’s always socks! I like to think of ways that I can help people to discover sock knitting, to improve their skills and to try out new techniques, and there’s always something new to learn, no matter how long we have been knitting.
I think that knitting - and sock knitting in particular - are important life skills and we need them more now than ever, so whatever I can do to inspire people to pick up yarn and needles feels like important work to me and this is usually the focus of my sock designs and blog posts. (Having said that, I also write about being out with the dog, gardening, family life and being out and about as well – as much as I could talk about socks all day, I’m not sure everyone else wants to!)
So, plans for the future… more of the same, because I love it!