Tuesday, December 01, 2015

December 1st 2015 - Anticipation

Finding a perfect (the mere word is terrifying) balance between sensible expectations and enjoying the anticipation of Christmas or Holidays at its best is a slippery road. While I get lots of my joy out of making various things before the celebrations, I need to be careful not to build my expectations so high that I cannot meet them. There has to be a happy medium between " what is Christmas anyway; it is just one day in a row of days?" and "a celebration with joyous, humorous, high-spirited, healthy (no stuffy noses and high temperatures this time - thank you) family gathering around bountiful table dressed with crisp white linen and glowing, thick Evergreen bursting with handmade, antique decorations, giving and receiving tasteful, artful, meaningful tokens of love and gratitude... and it goes without saying that all these festivities happen in a thoroughly cleaned house (you should be able to check your lipstick by glancing at the kitchen sink and eat from your closets floors.)"

Okey, who am I kidding? I want it all, it is 24 days until Christmas, plenty of time to for the latter.  
I love doing things. I love the magic of this season, the elves, the food, the deserts, the drinks, the gifts, candles, carols, fires, snow, starry cold nights, ...

So I clean... and find out that no matter how much I clean today, and if I clean 15 hours straight for a fortnight , there is no way my whole house is going to glow by Christmas. It is never going to glow, but I will thrive for it.

If I clean thoroughly, it is going to be a challenge to find the time to make food and bake and get gifts but I can do it... I would love to prepare every single food item from the scratch, but for that I should have started last year. Let's face it, if I spend 12 hours in the kitchen, two days in a row, some stuff will turn out beautifully while others will not and something is destined to burn or not rise or turn sour in the myriad ways it is possible for food to turn sour. If I close my eyes and look deeper into my memory, I can see me sneaking in the dark of the night to the compost heap with watery eyes and ruined dinner. Of course I will ignore this, it is never going to happen again because this time I will be very cautious, I will pay attention,  I will measure, weight, set the timer, it will be like clockwork; there will be no room for human error, it will work out.
I know my family does not have the same expectations, because they don't live inside my head and they have lived through the many holiday seasons with me and none of them have been perfect, let's just say so far. Not a single one. No matter how hard I have tried, my cooking has not been all that great (I won't even mention about the turkey I managed to ruin totally), my deserts might sometimes have turned out good tasting if not all that good looking, I have managed to nail the present thing on a few rare occasions, but the family has always (I might be exaggerating a little bit here, but this is the season for it) been good about everything. It is because they have not had a clue (I might have told them, I don't remember, blame the cinnamon and cardamom fumes) how perfect I would have loved everything to be. Oh, but they will be gobsmacked this year when they arrive, because finally, they are going to have the best Christmas ever. I cannot help myself. I will try one more time. (And then next year once more, if it does not work out this time.)

It really helped me to write all this down. Now that it is all out in the open, and now that you all know what my expectations are, we are good...

I can hear you and ok, I will settle for less, but only for a little less. You should not try to talk me out of this...

Ok ... I promise, I will cut corners here and there, but I will do it tastefully and gracefully. My corners will be cut perfectly - in the spirit of the season; my shortcuts will be done thoughtfully and with good taste.
I had good intentions of making a festive new banner with merry elves singing carols. The elves are singing carols alright, but what I really don't understand is why do they look so serious. After the picture was completed, I took a long look at it, expecting it to be something totally different, and the reality hit me, as it always does. I realized that they look different than my intentions... We could always say that they are perfect in their serious way. 

And we can all have a perfect holiday season, it can be perfect in so many different ways, it just depends on your point of view, you can decide yourself what is your perfect.

Check the first thing off the list: a new banner. (Perfect.)

Wool with you,

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Finished cowl

Good Saturday morning! (I do realize it might be already Saturday night where you are...) I hope this finds you well. I have loved reading your comments and I can't tell you how good it feels to be back. Thank you for every one of them.  

You were wondering how cold it needs to be for me to build a fire... The house warms up by central heating, electricity mostly, but when the temperature outside drops close to -10°C, I usually switch to wood.  While the main heating unit keeps the house warm, there are areas that could do with little bit of extra heat, and those mornings I build additional fire in the kitchen area. This early morning extra fire is the one I enjoy most, I love coming down to the fresh and cold-ish kitchen with wool sweater and wool socks on, make my first pot of coffee and while that is coming along, I start the fire. When it is only -10°C outside, this is little more for the enjoyment than for the actual extra heat (the sound and the smell of wood burning is wonderful), but when the temperature drops further down, it becomes necessary.
Tina had a very tough day yesterday. I took her to the vet to have her teeth checked few weeks ago (she has her teeth checked regularly) and a new appointment was scheduled soonest. She is getting old (next summer 12), and her teeth are giving her some trouble. (This is an old picture, she is just a few years old in this one.) Yesterday she had three of them pulled out. She slept most of the day and I sat with her with my knitting and had a huge amount of knitting done on my next sock. Since she was slowly getting out of anesthesia, I could not move as every time she woke up, she started complaining loudly (!!!!!) and would tell me how bad she felt. After a long day she finally settled into bed and today she seems better, she almost has her usual glow in her eyes and her tail curls the way it is supposed to curl.
The cowl, finished. Me, pleased and happy for the way it turned out.
off-white K1 Yarns Selkie (discontinued)
30% cashmere 70% superfine merino
Blue and brown Hjertegarn Trunte, both left-overs from previous knits,  100% Merino
about 175m/50g (this approximate from the top of my head)
3mm needles
The cashmere blend yarn was lovely to work with even though my yarn tastes always go towards little more rustic qualities. Selkie was a souvenir from Edinburgh many, many years ago. I bought two balls and used little more than just one. I had intentions to knit it little bit bigger, but at the same time wanted it to be small enough to be worn like in the pictures inside the coat and had to stop before it got too big. The size appears to be just right.

The stitch pattern I used is the same as in Anne Hanson's Hoarfrost. I took the beautiful pattern and made a few adjustments to it; made it little bit bigger and did not make the lace edging and knitted ribbing instead for both ends. I added stitches to the ribbing that lies around the chest and it will stay where it is supposed to.
I love the stitch pattern, it is like snowflakes and I will revisit it at some point, I am sure.  I don't think I have seen the actual pattern in my stitch dictionaries (I don't have many) and so I am not sure if she invented the pattern and if so, it would not surprise me at all, here lace work is stunning!  I would love to knit all of her lace patterns but lately she designed a coat that is very appealing.
We are getting close to December, aren't we? And over the years, I have blogged few times every single day while we wait for the holidays, as if my posts were some kind of an advent calendar.  I intend to do it this year too, I plan to post every single day in December until the 24th. (Please bear in mind that I live in the country, and my internet is not always fluent, while it mostly is, snow and wind can sometimes break my best intentions.)

Enjoy your weekend; we will see on Dec 1st.
Wool with you,