Thursday, October 17, 2019

Long, dark winter ahead

And there was snow (and there is still a little bit)! New, white, soft coating. The forest looks magical. When you step into it, it is like crossing a threshold into the fairy land. Days are short, and they become little shorter every day.
When autumn turns into winter and new snow arrives, it is a new beginning to me. This is the time to gather thoughts and settle down. Winter is such a long stretch up here, that it seems endless, and thus it seems like there is lots of time at hand. New snow covers the ground and puts all sorts of little creatures into sleep. Then on the other hand, I become aware of lots of other ones, when they leave tracks on this new snow. The lake is still free, the temperature has not yet dropped low enough to bring the ice. I just love this “new-snow-season” so very, very much. According to the weather forecast, there is more snow and cold air ahead. Further north, the temperature may drop to -20C during the night!!!
Last weekend I traveled little bit to the south, 3 hours by car to visit a Handicraft fair in Oulu. It was two days of feasting with inspiration and all things crafty. I did buy yarn with bears and foxes and wolves in mind…

It was all about toys for me. These beauties are from Louhittaren Luola. Tuulia has dyed yarn for many years and her eye for color is amazing. She dyes the most perfect blues, but this time it was these fur-coat colors for me mostly. I did buy one sweater’s quantity of silk and wool blend for a crochet sweater, but that I will show you later.
I also bought a kit to make a small Christmas tree and to make crochet mittens. I was looking for something to make during December (like an advent calendar) but did not find anything. I have been searching all sorts of patterns that I could divide into 24 parts and then pairing it with nice yarn, but so far, I have not settled into anything.

I blocked the Exploration Station and this is how it came out. I did not change my original color plan and just continued to the end. The shawl is huge, as I added two wedges to the first part of the shawl. My shawl model will come home in two weeks and hopefully I can then get pictures of both Exploration Station and Speckle and Pop shawls.
At the moment, I am almost through part two of the new mystery knitalong “Starflake” and tomorrow the third clue comes out. So far, I have enjoyed the clues and it feels like they knit up quickly, even though the shawl is already quite big.
 (He has an orange hat, because it is the moose hunting season up here and roaming in the forests without wearing orange, is dangerous. The huge pompom is pure vanity!)
But… my heart has been with the bear making. I finished my second one and made a third… there is fourth one on the way, waiting to be finished and I just love the process.

I love the flapjacks or the union suits or the rompers or the onesies they are wearing. I have some beautiful felted wool (the kind that I used for the pockets) and I would love to make a coat with that material, but somehow it seems difficult. I have made a pattern with tissue paper, but I am not sure just how I would handle the seam allowances and if the coat would need to be lined and how I would do that… or how would I do the buttonholes.

I have been drawing a fox face and that seems impossible too. I know that at some point, after much tossing and turning my thoughts, I will know how it should look. My husband made a comment and said that make a pig for Christmas! and I sighed, if only it was so easy. It never is, the body is easier, but the face, it takes so much time.
It is a long winter ahead... an endless stretch of snowy and cold days, hours to ponder on fox or wolf faces.
Wool with you, stay warm,

Monday, October 07, 2019

Ursus Lanarctos

Ursus Lanarctos 
(closely related to Ursus Arctos that is the fellow who inhabits the forests up here)
I called the very first white bear I saw up here Ursus Woolitimus, because I thought that it was related to Ursus Maritimus due to her color, but it appears that Ursus Lanarctos can have very different color coatings, from yellowish white to darkest, blue blacks. 

Ursus Lanarctos roams in the close radius of my very location, its is rare species, endangered and vulnerable, and now very carefully curated to bring up the number of heads. No one knows the exact count.

As you know, mama bear gives birth in her winter lodgings and cares for the little one(s) for the first summer and the next winter they sleep together in the same nest. During her first year and a half maybe, the cub has gained almost all the necessary information needed for his adult life and mama bear encourages him to embark into his adulthood. But not all are the same, some yearlings are more mature than others, a few can roam aimlessly for a bit and come winter they might face some difficulties finding a good resting place.

This little guy appeared in my yard some time ago. He seemed very unhappy, hungry and distressed and in need of special care. Since then he has drank many cups of hot chocolate and eaten uncountable number of cookies (he prefers chocolate chip cookies with dried cranberries, not raisins… but I guess that is very predictable, he is accustomed to them, as he did eat loads of them last fall with his mama when they were preparing for the hibernation).
He is little restless, and even though it is already October and by November most of the bears up here are in their hibernation nests, he has not claimed any place as his. I am not worried, I know he needs his sleep, but if he stays up a little longer, all is good. He has his pj’s on and is ready. 

I read to him every night. He loves to listen to stories and he really loves the old Finnish story of how the bear came to be on this planet, but that I will tell you another time.

Wool with you,
PS. Knitting his pyjamas was a challenge. I don’t know how many times I started over to get the back right --- there is the opening, the button band underneath, button holes, short rows and then the hole for the tail…After all that done, I closed the piece to knit few rounds in the round and then separated for the pants.
I spent most of my knitting time Sunday getting them right. I am happy with the way they turned out and now the next ones will be a lot easier. But I had to get them right… for this little face. How do you call this kind of onesies, with the opening in the back?