Thursday, December 21, 2006

This and that but no knitting

It is very early in the morning when I’m writing these first words. If I don’t start this now and grab every spare moment for writing this will never get done and another day will go without a post. I just saw one of the girls disappear into the dark to catch the bus. Except that it is not that dark anymore. We had new thin layer of snow last night. If only it would stay...

The weather has been a big topic around here for the last few weeks. I have never experienced a non-white Christmas up here but now we might have one. It is not a big deal (when put into proportion) but this strange weather just is on everybody’s lips. Today the temperature will be above zero so we probably will lose the snow again but by Eve there is a slight possibility for some snow and colder air. I'm living from one forecast to another hoping for good snowy news.

Snow is necessary. It is. The sun gets up around 11 and sets again around one afternoon so snow would be needed badly. Also the nature seems to be a bit confused. I have read from the papers that some bears have woke up from their hibernation.

Have you ever been by the lakeside when the lake is freezing… It makes these huge growling noises. It is not like icy bells that you can hear in springtime when the ice has melted into tiny bits but noisy growling. The sound is scary if you don’t know from where it is coming and it is overwhelming. I have been listening to that for many nights and days in a row. And the more I listen to it the more I’m convinced that it is “Staalo” growling. It can’t be the lake.

Staalo (Stállu) is human like gnome. He lives in a grey log cabin but could also live in the stars. He is huge, stupid, greedy and evildoing person. He eats forest fairies and could also eat humans as well. Luckily he is very stupid and humans are wiser and usually with their clever ways can escape from him. Staalo has one good feature in him. He protects children in moonlit nights.

On the other side of the lake in the forests there is a small lake named after Staalo and the grounds surrounding the lake are named after him as well. But in the old times they were afraid to say his name out loud so they gave the lake and the grounds a cover name. They called him Tollo what in these later times refers in our common language to someone really stupid.
Here is daybreak over Staalo’s land. I sincerely wish he would stop this nonsense and shut up. It is getting annoying.

It took me a whole episode of Cast-on to iron two linen tablecloths. I don’t have a big list of "have to dos" for Christmas but the ironing basket has to be empty. I tend to push the difficult and demanding stuff always for better times to do. I love tablecloths. Even thought big ones take forever to iron and sometimes it is difficult to get the stains off, when you spread out a new fresh table cloth there is very little in household chores that outgrows that feeling.

Today the 21st is the first day of Christmas in Finland. This day is “Tuomaan päivä” (the day of Tuomas) and we have a saying that Good Tuomas brings Christmas, and bad Nuutti takes it away. The day of Nuutti in our almanac is January 13th and that is the last day of Christmas. I must confess that looking at Christmas decorations all the way up to the 13th of January is taking it a bit long, so I gradually take everything down from the sixth of January and finally have everything put away on the 13th.

The day has not been all work but there was time to play. I finished the gingerbread house. Tina was watching me building it. I kept talking to her all the time and I guess she was sort of waiting for the house to be placed on the floor for her to eat and since it did not happen, she chewed one old ornament that was left on the sofa table…

Little by little all of today's tasks are done. It is eleven at night now. The girls have gone to bed. Tina is outside in her little house, the old dog is snoring here by my feet and Mr Cat is probably on someone's bed. Tomorrow I’ll be shopping in town again, just food, all the gift shopping is done.

You came for the knitting and I don’t have any. Just what kind of a knitblogger does this make me? A bad one.

But soon, very soon we will be at the threshold of a new year and there is new set of 365 days of knitting ahead.


  1. Lovely, Lene, but I don't understand why this bad evil monster still protects children in the dark? Is he not so evil after all? We have bad spirits too, but they don't do anything good usually.

    Love the gingerbread house. You should really have put a little piece on the floor for Tina who had been so helpful all the time, though. Not too late to put it outside in her kennel, is it?

    People are building a gingerbread house at Cork Airport right now, to celebrate Christmas. That's nice too.

    Love at Midwinter

  2. Finally....wasn't letting me get to this page earlier.
    I'm thinking the same, he's not 100% evil anyway, protecting children in the dark.
    Loving the gingerbread house, Tina is so beautiful.
    There are wild animals all over the globe who might well be confused by the weather patterns we're having.
    Midwinter Blessings.

  3. I *love* the gingerbread house with the gingerbread Tina!

    The evillest monster around is probably global warming...

    But for now: have a peaceful solstice. It gets brighter from here.

  4. lovely description of the folk tales and that enchanted forest photo- like a set of some mysterious ballet. knitting is enhanced by these tales and images!

  5. Emma02:45

    Such a beautiful, evocative post.
    Christmas greetings to you and your family.

  6. Rosemary03:31

    When the weather isn't normal for our area we feel unsettled. Eastern Canada doesn't have snow, the West Coast has had 9 windstorms and power outages. Incredible photo. Merry Christmas.

  7. I've had trouble with your site too. I could read it but not comment. A helpful dog always deserves a little treat.

    The weather has been most strange all over the planet. I hope it snows. Happy Solstice!

  8. Hmmm...I know a few Staalos.
    I think our Prime Minister might be a Staalo in disguise!
    Anyway..I love your stories from across the globe.
    The photo of daybreak: breathtakingly spooky & atmospheric.
    The gingerbread doghouse: Adorable.
    The story about Tina: made me laugh (I have a dog too..I know all about those 'doggie tantrums').

  9. Anonymous04:49

    beautiful gingrebread Tina and beautiful portrait of Tina ! Will Grandma Kitty visit her grandson for Christmas ?

  10. marjorie05:27

    I too, wanted to post a comment earlier but I wasn't able to. You are not a bad blogger, just a busy one! (as we all are during this season.) The weather everywhere is strange. Here we have no snow and it is unseasonably warm. It is very good, however, for people like me whose exercise is walking.I tell myself that all my exercise makes it okay for me to eat a bit more chocolate and cookies.

  11. I have never heard the ice growling as it is forming, but I can remember skating on the lake and when a crack would form in the ice, it would create a thunderous sound and I was terrified the ice would open, I would fall through and then the ice would close. Maybe Stallo lived in Nova Scotia for a bit!! What beautiful bookmarks you made for Jo. Tiny, but perfect! Happy Christmas to you and yours from windy British Columbia!

  12. This black Christmas thing is really getting to everyone. And here in Southern Finland we really don't even have any hope of snow. But I hope that up there in the North you'll have some!

    Hyvää Joulua ja rauhaisaa Uutta vuotta!

  13. I like your gingerbread dog house, especially the bones and the fence. And I LOVE how Tina's face looks like your drawings!

    Come and see my gingerbread project for this year -

  14. Love your gingerbread house! Merry Christmas!

  15. We're having this odd weather in Scotland too. Last winter I didn't turn on the gas fire once, just had the central heating on: I cannot tell you bizarre that is. This year we are a little bit chillier but still nothing like what we used to have.

    Children under 8 barely know what a white Christmas is, or indeed a white January, which was more common for us.

    Our gardens are changing because plants can now survive our winters which couldn't before.

    We haven't changed though, we still say, 'We'll pay for this good weather later.'

    Happy Christmas and good blogging in 2007 :)

  16. Marlyce13:44

    I enjoy reading your blog. I especially enjoy it when you include the information about nature and your culture. The knitting part of the blog describes our similarities, and the nature describes our different experiences. Have a wonderful holiday.

  17. I see the resemblance between Tina's smile at that of your gingerbread dog. Excellent!

    You are more than just a knit blogger and you can post whatever you like. The knitter's will still be reading and so will your other fans.

  18. Anonymous14:31

    I always love checking your blog for photos and stories of Finland - yes I knit, but I come for more than just knitting content.
    Love your gingerbread doghouse - I've never made one out of fear/conviction that my black lab would find a way to get at it, as she did anything she deemed edible. She's very old and arthritic now and can't get up on her back legs long enough to cause trouble anymore, so perhaps it would be safe to try now.
    Wishing you some snow for Christmas and to brighten your darkness ...
    Carol in Maryland, US

  19. Anonymous15:39

    Our weather has been exceptionally warm too. At least yours is cold enough for a sweater. I feel like I should unpack my summer clothing again--sweaters are too warm.
    Ellen in Washington DC

  20. Thank you for the story of the evil monster and the explanation of Christmas starting on the 21st and going on until January. Love the gingerbread house.

    A blog doesn't always have to have knitting items on it. I love coming to your blog to learn more about the beautiful country that you live in. This means that once again I got to learn more about it.

    Merry Christmas.

  21. Janeen Bates16:34

    TIna has such a beautiful, intelligent face! She also seems to have a little smile about her lips enjoying all the festivities.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Lene, including your four legged dears!

    janeen in Maryland :-)

  22. Michele16:47

    I enjoyed today's blog and your descriptions and pictures of Christmas in Finland. Best wishes to you and your family for a joyful holiday and happy New Year.

  23. Ann in Montreal16:47

    Even the most inveterate knitter needs, at times, to think and write of things other than knitting. I always find it a great pleasure to hear the stories of others lands. Thank you Lene.
    The gingerbread house is utterly charming and Tina also. How intent she looks. I thought perhaps she had spotted those ginerbread doggie bones and was hopping for one as a treat.
    Best wishes and Midwinter blessings to you and your family.

  24. Hyvää Joulua, Lene. (And you too, Tina. I'm sure you'll not be forgotten where treats are concerned. Woof.)

    Wonderful stories, wonderful pictures, all from a wonderful blogger who knows how to combine all the magical elements of her world to create a beautiful whole. Many good wishes to you and your family.

  25. Ruby17:03

    Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about the traditions and the country in which you live. I find that I learn as I enjoym when I read your blog. I've never lived where it is cold enough to freeze the lakes, so reading your description of the sound the water/ice makes as it freezes was new to me.

    Your gifts to Jo are spectacular! Such small items!

  26. No, I don't visit your blog just for knitting. I love to hear about life in your part of the world.

    Adele in far western KY

  27. It's very interesting read about the folklore of your country. The ginger bread house is darling and I can see why Tina was upset about not getting to enjoy it! Have a very Merry Christmas and may you have a little white snow appear.

  28. Hyvää Joulua! Thank you so much for sharing your life, your culture and your knitting. I feel much closer to a Finnish aunt of mine than I ever have just by reading your blog.

    The gingerbread Tina looks just like your drawings of her. She is so intent looking, I bet she is a very clever dog.

  29. I think it is safe to say we come for more than just knitting. Your post today gave me a little mental break into a magic fairy kingdom where I, like a child hearing a fairy tale for the first time, learned for the first time about the monsters who roam this kingdom.

    Blessed Christmas dear friends.

  30. Oh Lene, the non-knitting here is wonderful! I loved the tale of the evil gnome Staalo. I'll be knitting a gnome from a Brittish publication I just got & maybe I'll name him Staalo. I also really like your ornament. I just got that book too (as a Christmas present) so I'm not looking inside till Christmas. Your gingerbread house is lovely, you are so multi-talented. Thank you for sharing your holiday rituals, it makes my life richer to experience other's traditions so for that I thank you. Have a very happy holiday season, you and your family!

  31. Anonymous23:28

    I echo the chorus of "write about what you want to". AND, thanks for the sun update. I LOVE learning what it's like outside in your area; In fact, I WAS going to ask how much light you have where you live!

    As we say, "Merry Christmas"!

    PS I hope you get that snow. We in suburban Maryland won't - I can't remember the last time we had snow on Christmas!

  32. It's a time of year when there isn't much time for knitting. Instead of a gingerbread house, we made a cake train. It took all day, by the time I made the cakes, ran errands (while my son-in-law and grandsons bought the candies), and helped seven little people age 6 and down to decorate the cakes. I bought our puppy a new toy and a bone to keep him away from the project. Then there was some babysitting and some piano practicing for church. And now I will be up late cleaning up after the project. But it's what we'll all remember. The knitting can wait until a quiet moment when the holiday is over. I guess. I'm not so happy about it right now with the cleaning up looming.

  33. Hyvää Joulua!
    What a lovely post. You've ccreated a wonderful picture of the season with your words, regardless of snow levels.
    Now I want to hear what the ice sounds like.