Edinburgh has been looking rather pretty, if austere, the past few weeks. We’ve been treated to steel grey skies with occasional bouts of snow, which if we’re less kind was more like sleet. It made Christmas shopping more memorable especially when hurrying past the Castle trying not to freeze.
On a similar theme, there’s a pair of socks I’m excited to talk about. A few months back, I dyed up some self-striping Christmas yarn for myself. Not casting on right away was quite hard, I’ll admit. The first Advent Sunday was rather more tense than usual as I knit the first stripping repeat but isn’t Advent all about anticipation?
For all the snow, Christmas lights and advent calendars surrounding me, my head hasn’t been in Christmas mode this year, so far. It hasn’t stopped me completely. I’ve made my first batch of mince pies, I’ve listened to my Christmas music and my Christmas tea is as delicious as it always is. I’ve even seen friends and worn my Christmas earrings – I should be completely on track to overdose on the Christmas spirit. But it’s been secondary to the fear and stress in my life.
Alissa wrote about peace last week, and how she’s been finding it which struck such a chord in me. Her list is wonderful, and it’s summed up by the photo at the end which I keep coming back to – embroidered linen with the message ‘slowing down’. If Advent is about anticipation and counting the days, I’d like to be counting them down, slowing them down, to peace.
After the year of never-ending, overflowing lists I’ve had, I’m going to leave them to better people. I’m feeling my way through these next twelve days to Christmas. I’ve already wound-up so much of the year’s work in the past week with just a bit more to go. Christmas experiences aren’t quite what I’m looking for. Instead, I think I’m working towards that feeling of being at rest, of accepting the year, and getting ready to celebrate Christmas, whatever that means to us.
These Christmas Socks have mirrored that process. I dyed up the yarn using two Jacquard Acid dyes (Fire Red & Emerald Green) with 20g of the skein used to make a mini of Spruce green (mixed with some black) for a contrast colour. This was my first time knitting up my hand-dyed self-striping yarn into socks. The stripes are deliberately different sizes (with the white around half the size) so it took until a full, tense, repeat of the colours for me to actually be sure that it would work.
The effort paid off with the stripes materialising as I envisioned. It’s so much fun to have Christmas yarn, and this is in-your-face Christmas to me. There’s nothing subtle about it. I’ve thought about different variations I’d like to try in future which add more complexity, but straight-forward is what I need this year.
I went for thick red and green stripes for the same reason. Thinner stripes provide excitement (more colours changing!) but I want simple. I thought I might end up doing one stripe per night, but that never happened. Self striping yarn has such an element of anticipation, each stripe makes me want to knit another.
With each stripe, I’m a bit closer to that mentally quieter place I’m hoping to end up, but still not there. I’m not going to rush it.
What Christmas projects have you been getting up to? I’ve been loving reading blogs on the subject so if there’s one you’d recommend including your own on the subject, please let me know.