Welcome to day 12 of our Spinners of the World December blogposts.
We're counting down the darkest days by exploring and learning more about the world we live in, but I'm not the one writing the posts!
Each day the post has been written by a volunteer spinner, they're be telling us about their mid-winter holiday traditions, and a little bit about the place they live. I still need volunteers, so if you enjoy this post please head over to the form here. This is open to everyone, please don't worry about your language skills, or even if you think your holiday traditions aren't very interesting, I want to hear from you!
Todays spinners is Caroline, originally from Newcastle,who now lives in Teesside, UK.
I love spinning, knitting and (very) amateur weaving on my kiddy loom... mostly things for the children, accessories as gifts for friends, but more recently I've adventured into bigger wearable projects for myself. I also enjoy dyeing. My favourite fibres are natural and why I love Katie's blends, and I enjoy playing with my blending board for a bit of Christmas sparkle or colour effects for spinning. Love raw fleece too, Border Leicester from the Doulton Flock who are just a short drive away, and any other beauties I spot on my travels to fibre festivals.
My most ambitious gift yet was probably the jumper of doom for Jon, as he's 6ft and far from the build of a whippet... spun the yarn from John Arbon Jacob tops and really delighted with the result. Closely followed by the Pokemon Magikarp had I am about to embark on for my son for Christmas...
I'm loving my advent calendar (10g of fibre from spinners all over the UK each day) but once the Christmas knitting is finished, I plan to do a combi or fade style spin for a sweater for myself. Also planning a fair isle yoke with some HTC Cambrian spun during Spinzilla this year.
We have two celebrations, my son's birthday is the solstice, and we celebrate Christmas as a family. This year there will be my children, my partner and his children, and the extended families and friends (there's a lot of them!)
We spend the holidays visiting places, lots of well wrapped up walks, baking and cooking, eating and drinking, singing and dancing... festive films and games. Candles everywhere to bring the light to the dark nights. We have just put up our tree, which is a beautifully chaotic mixture of 2 families coming together and ornaments the children have made.
In terms of food, that's such a tricky question... but seasonal fruit cake and gingerbread are special treats, and cheese, preserves, pate, cracker in front of the fire :)
I make my Christmas cake a month or 2 beforehand, but this is a great fruit tea loaf recipe of you need some in a hurry...courtesy of Nigella Lawson and tried by spinners at the Leominster retreat back in February this year...
Soak 8oz dried mixed fruit in a bowl overnight with a cup of cold strong black tea. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to in 180c or gas 4. Stir 2 tablespoons of marmalade (the stuff with the big bitter bits in is the best!) Into the dried fruit mixture amd add a beaten egg. Fold in 4oz castor sugar and 8oz SR flour. Pour into a lined greased 1.5lb load run and make for an hour or until skewer comes out clean. Cool, slice and serve :)
Huge thanks to Caroline for writing this post, and all the lovely photographs. Come back tomorrow, there will be a another spinner, in another part of the world.