November knitting plans


I am sitting by the fireplace today, warming up after a walk. It is cold outside, winter is definitely here, except for snow. But the ground feels hard under my feet when I walk. It is getting ready, along with everything else in nature, for the big sleep.

I want to write a bit about knitting today. I have three projects on the needles, and also some plans that still is just a vague idea. I have started a Riddari Sweater. I made one last fall, and although I was very happy with the choice of yarn (Lett Lopi) and the colours, I made it too big to fit myself. I gave it as a gift to a dear friend, and I hope it brings joy and warmth. Now I will try making almost the same sweater all over again, a wee bit smaller this time.

In the first sweater I changed the sleeves and the neckband from what the pattern said. This time I am thinking to make it according to the pattern (although I usually somehow end up changing something…) The yarn and colours I have chosen are the same as last time (because I love the combination so much) but I will change what colour I am using where (just a bit).

I’ve just started this Riddari sweater.

I am also making socks for my partner, and trying to make a checkered pattern, for the first time. I think it is going pretty well, although I had pictured to colours looking a bit different together than what they do. BUT he doesn’t really care about that as long as the socks are warm. Apparently I am just to much of a perfectionist… 🙂 The yarn is new to me. A combination of 80% wool and 20% nylon that I was recommended to chose for socks at the yarn store. At this point I am not sure how I feel about it. It feels like knitting with cotton, something I never enjoy. But I have decided to wait and see the result before I make up my mind about it.

Hum… Not completely sure about these socks… (or my effort when taking this picture :p )

A long time ago (about it seven months?) I started a sweater in a nice orange alpaca yarn that I had laying around. At first I thought I was going to make it in one colour, but I have changed my mind and decided to have some sort of pattern at the yoke. But the body and sleeves are knitted together in raglan, so I am thinking hard about what sort of pattern would look nice. I would like to use Selburose or something similar (that is a traditional Norwegian pattern) using white yarn, and perhaps an acanthus swath (Link for knitted jackets with acanthus swath in the pattern) or something else that would frame the Selbu Rose in a nice way. I am not sure how to make this fit into the decreases, though. Hum… I will have to think about while I finish knitting the Riddari and the socks.

A completely different subject, but to me just as exciting. Several years ago, while searching through old notebooks, letters and photos that belonged to one of my great-grandmothers I found a book with recipes. But one of the pages had a list over something other than ingredients. It was a page with a list of the names of the full moons. Nothing more or less. This was a very intriguing discovery to me. I have not found any more information about this in my family, so it is still a mystery to me. Maybe it meant nothing. It was just a list with information that she thought was fun to remember. But could it mean something more? I will never know, but my interest in the symbolic meaning of the full moons was aroused. I hope to write more about that some other day.

Now it is time for me to leave the computer screen and spend time with family. We are going to make som food, enjoy the heat of the fire, and maybe I will get some time to knit done during the day as well? 🙂

I hope you enjoy your day, and that you find joy and peace in this dark time of the year. ❤


The purgatory, New Years Eve and No Man’s Land

Hello and welcome!

We are celebrating Halloween in our house for the fifth time this year, even though it is not a tradition to us, and a pagan Samhain celebration would be closer to my heart. But our kids easily pick up new ideas with big enthusiasm, and they are masters at half “force”, half lure us to embrace new impulses. Now they claim that celebrating Halloween is a tradition in our family.

I once read that the vikings believed that fog was souls from Hel (one of the realms of the dead) that came to visit the living, or to fetch souls. Unfortunately, I can’t find the source, but I like the idea. 🙂

Parents in our neighborhood or at school have pretty different approaches to the celebration. One of our neighbor takes her kids and escape from the neighborhood and into the woods, to the movies or to an old and much loved grandmother that unfortunately (or should we say luckily) does not celebrate Halloween, and happens to be so old that the kids does not bother to try and teach her.

An other neighbor invites “the whole gang” of boys and throws a Halloween party while serving things such as “clipped witch fingers” and “eyeballs”. Their garden is filled with plastic things that will scream or laugh a typical caricatures witch laugh as you walk by.

We have taken a sort of in-between position, where the kids get to decorate the house a little, dress up and go trick-or-treating. We buy candy and opens the door to whoever rings the door bell. At the same time we try our best to teach the kids about the origin of the Halloween celebration, the original traditions around the holiday that was important long before the polyester witch costumes and plastic spiders were presented as essential accessories for a successful celebration.

It is nice to have a celebration at this time of year. It is dark, cold, and wet most of the time. We are all longing for some time off school or work, and to have a bit of fun “just because” is nice enough. But I do wish for something a little more mindful, simply because I like things that are done with intention. Halloween as it is in Norway today is celebrated with the intention of shops making money. And that is not good enough for me.

Halloween is originally a catholic tradition. Norway was once a catholic nation, even though that is a long time ago. The name ‘Halloween’ derives from ‘All Hallows Eve’, the evening before All Hallows Day, which was celebrated November 1. It was created somewhere between 900 and 1000 ad. and was a catholic holiday until sometime in the 19th century.

But Halloween have roots even further back in history, to the celebration of Samhain, which was the Celtic new year celebration. The beginning of winter was considered as a very dangerous time of the year by the Celts. The barriers between the human and spirit world would break down during Samhain. The spirits could enter the world of the living, and the living could enter the spirit world and for instance see their future. The Celtc made food – and maybe human – offerings on large bonfires to appease the spirits.

In a christian context this offering was made into soul cakes or soulmass-cake and given to the poor who would go from door to door and trade a cake for a prayer for the giver, their friends or their late relatives in the purgatory. Eventually the custom disappeared and youths and children started to walk from door to door just for fun. Today my kids, among others, are playing spirits “from the other side” (a dead soldier, a pirate-ghost and a Robin Hood fox (scary for the affluent at least)), and they scoop in a massive amount of candy to “be nice” and do no harm.

The story behind the pumpkin lantern is also about a dead soul . A scammer named Jack had no respect for rules og boundaries. He fooled absolutely everyone, even the devil. So when he died he was refused access to both heaven and hell. But he did get a few glowing pieces of charcoal with him from the gates of hell when he was refused. He put them in a cabbage root. And that was how he made the lantern that now lights up all the dark places in the no man’s land he is stranded in, somewhere in the middle of heaven and hell. In the USA this cabbage root turned into a pumpkin.

Halloween is much about the positions in between. The purgatory in the catholic tradition, the Celts New Years Eve, the no man’s land in the story about Jack. We thematize the relationship between security and fear, order and chaos, life and death. It seems easier to play the paradoxes in life than to explain them rationally, like the contradiction that in facing what we fear the most, we often find foothold. A child could play the scary monster under her bed, or something else that is the scariest thing in the world. Kids need support to dramatize their most fearsome and groundbreaking experiences. Halloween is a good way to do just that 🙂

Blessed Celtic New Year and Happy Halloween and Samhain. ❤

I think nature dying can be very beautiful.