Sunday, 20 November 2011

Stir up Sunday

Today my dad and I marked "stir up Sunday" by making Christmas puddings, dad does love a good tradition. He loves Christmas pudding too! It was fun and lovely to spend some time together. He reminisced about making Christmas pudding with his mother and grandmother as a child and how his mother would put a bit of ale in and his grandmother finish off the bottle!

We made two puddings which should be eaten in 2012 and 2013, God willing. Everyone had a stir and made a wish and I've hidden plenty of money (wrapped in greaseproof paper) in both. While we were in a pudding frame of mind, and had the brandy out, Dad got this year's pudding down and "fed it" so that it will be plentifully moist and rich for Christmas.

The smell was gorgeous, particularly the spices, we used cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, a bit of ginger and a little ground cloves. I increasingly love spices, especially since reading Elizabeth David's brilliant book on the subject, their scents and tastes are magnificent; must use them more. I'm tired now but it has been a nice weekend, makes a lovely change, breakfast with knitting friends was a great start to the weekend and then the pudding making today, may there be many more weekends that are similarly nice, relaxed and happy.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The waiting bells of Advent ring

Already I'm gearing up toward Christmas, it cheers me through this often dark and gloomy time of year and the message of Christmas helps me to cope with this dark world. It's not just the festive atmosphere, good food, slightly better telly than usual and the general sparkliness I love, or even the fairy lights, but Christmas's message. Christmas says that things will not always be like this, that things will get better one day, that we have hope. Christmas turns the world upside down and says that there is hope outside anything this world says or offers. Hope came into the world at Christmas, from heaven, bringing with him a message of change and change that is possible for all.
The Christmas story brings together many disparate people, a young couple from a small town and very ordinary background, foreign Magi come many miles from the east, shepherds living their lives on the edge of society, a Roman governor, even the Roman emperor plays his part and at it's centre, a tiny baby. Both Jew and gentile are represented, rich and poor, men and women, people who are the first in society and the last, educated and uneducated. The supernatural world comes into contact with the world of men, heaven touches earth and God enters the world as a vulnerable baby, bringing with Him hope.

If this isn't worth celebrating what is? I love this yearly reminder of Emmanuel - God with us, the reminder that change is coming into this dark world, that one day things will be different, that we ourselves can change. As well I enjoy the more secular sides of Christmas, giving presents to those I love, sending cards, decorating the house, preparing food, knitting Christmas decorations - there is nothing wrong with these things, but it is not all of Christmas.

This Christmas I am endeavouring to start making a nativity set, using Jean Greenhowe's pattern, starting with Mary and Jesus, so that in the midst of the goodness of Christmas can be the earth shattering good news of incarnation, so that I don't forget Jesus in the rush of parties and decorations and rich food. So I will enjoy the anticipation of Christmas and remind myself of why Christmas really is good.

Pictures: Fiddle faddle star, Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitters' Almanac; Mini mittens, Alan Dart's Advent Calendar; 0-566 Socks with Christmas pattern, Drops design

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Heel flap

I've got to the heel flap on Dad's Christmas socks. So far I've been enjoying knitting them, Argyle socks from Veronik Avery's book Knitting Classic Style, a book I've had at least three years without knitting anything from it. It's good finally to knit from it, instead of just reading it.

The yarn is Drops Fabel which so far seems very good value for the quality of the yarn. It has a smoother and slightly less woolly feel to it than Regia. The colour is somewhere around forget-me-not with a slight tinge of grey and I'm going to do the accents in navy blue and sage green.

The leg pattern has been good to knit, almost mesmerising in the way the purl stitches travel in and then out forming the diamond patterns down the leg.

Now to do the rest of the heel.

Sorry for the quality of the photograph, there's so light at this time of year and when it is light, I'm not organised!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The march of the knitted monsters

Despite my best intentions it's yet another month since I last posted. Time just seems to drift past and I spend a lot of time reading other people's blogs and hardly any writing my own.

This week I have mainly been working on presents for Christmas, including my first ever Rebecca Danger pattern, which has been so enjoyable. I'd recommend her patterns, go and knit one! They're fun, well written, cleverly constructed and produce such cute results. I can't say which of her patterns I've made or post photographs because it might spoil the surprise for a very special person. But I am considering making more monsters.

I think they'd be a good present for a baby, particularly baby boys, I think her robot would be good for a baby boy. And I'd love to make Napoleon the nervous narwhal, how awesome is a knitted narwhal?!

More immediately I might try making one of the Chubby Chirps (free pattern) into a Christmas robin with a bit of duplicate stitch.

Her patterns are also available on ravelry. I'm going to go back to my socks and hopefully blog again before long. In the meantime happy knitting!

P.S. Happy 101st Birthday Nanny, miss you xxx