Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year

Well, as promised, the pictures of the finished sweater. The yarn is pure merino double knit, bought at Wonderwool Wales, 2009. The pattern is a very basic, man's raglan -sleeved, round- neck sweater.

That is the only thing about knitting for men...they don't want anything 'fancy'.
So, I was very restrained, and only added a little cable to the ribbing, at collar, cuff and hem.

We, by which I mean my parents, sisters, brother, their children, and most of the partners, are not really materialistic. We give and recieve gifts for christmas and birthdays. We have celebration foods. But none of us would dream of going into debt for it. Or having so much food that a lot gets thrown away. We do not get, or expect, the latest 'must-have'.

The reason I say all this, is that I felt really bludgeoned by commercialism this year. In the last few days before Christmas, I really wished it was all over. Then we started visiting, or being visited by, old friends.

Each of these old friends takes us back to our roots. J and E are hill farmers. They live on the edge of Exmoor. M and J are fruit farmers, small scale. They have just retired, and their middle son has taken over the business. They live three miles away. Ken is a farm worker, and part time gamekeeper. P is a retired Gamekeeper, who still likes to keep his hand in. With each of these lovely, honest people, we had a simple meal. The gifts we exchanged were hand-made, or home-grown. Honey from our Hives. Dundee cake, Ken's Sloe Gin. M's Homemade Mincemeat, and Jams. Favourite recipe biscuits. Eggs, fresh from the hen. The delight at recieving each gift was obviously genuine.

The same was true of my knitting friends. Small gifts, but full of great thought and meaning. I gave Jac a small notebook, but had put in small print-outs of needle sizes, yarn equivelents and yarn suppliers, along with a tiny tin which held bodkins, and a pair of fold-up scissors. They will fit into the corner of her handbag. ( One always has knitting to hand! )

Jac gave me a bag of Alpaca sliver. ( Alpaca fleece, prepared ready for spinning). She knows that I took up spinning in the Autumn, and will get an enormous amount of fun and satisfaction from that bag of fluff.
Ness made wonderful, delicately Rose-scented candles, presented in vintage Tea-cups.
Probably one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever recieved....not just because it looks so lovely, but a friend cared enough to make it, especially for me.
And Best Beloved wore his new Equinox Sweater every day.

Today I took down the Christmas Tree. It has been up longer this year than for many years. It goes up on December 21st, then comes down in the week after christmas. It rarely stays up until New Year. A good clean of the sitting room followed, and a re-arangement of the furniture. Funny how something so simple can be so invigorating!

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