Welcome to day 2 of the the slightly different version of the Advent blogpost series.
This year we're still exploring and learning, 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 spinner is Lesley, and here's what she has to say...
I learnt to spin using raw fleece, and carding it – but now I prefer to spin tops and roving – both natural colours and also dyed. I also like blending dyed tops to make even more unique colours. My yarn is either knitted or given away.
I also participate in the British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden Birdwatch (https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/gbw) so time is spent watching and counting birds in our garden, which we also feed. So far, in over twenty years we’ve had thirty-nine different species – it has been interesting seeing how some species have declined and others have increased in that period – and how that relates to national trends, such as the decline of House Sparrow.
I'm from rural south-east Worcestershire in the United Kingdom.
I celebrate Christmas with two cats and one husband – all mine, though one of the cats likes to think she owns us!
We celebrate by going to see the village Christmas tree lights switched on, carol service, having a Christmas tree and an advent candle at home, generally enjoying the decorations people put up outside their homes: I love the lights in the darkness at this time of year here. And, most traditionally of all listening to Carols from Kings on Radio 4 on Christmas Eve, and then watching a different version of it on the TV.
I love the pot plants that occur at this time of year. We have two Christmas cacti which we’ve kept over the years, but they flower earlier and earlier. I’ve taken to calling them Advent cactus, but they both began to flower in November this year, well before Advent.
My favourite thing to eat at this time of year is Stolen, and I also have a recipe for fat-free mincemeat. (Editors note this is traditionally put in small shortcrust pastry cases, and baked in the oven.
2lbs apples (eating or cooking)
2 lbs dried mixed fruit
1.5 lbs sugar
1 pint water
juice of a lemon (or substitute with bottled lemon juice)
mixed spice, ginger – or other spices as you wish.
Peel, core and finely chop the apple, and simmer gently with the lemon juice, water and mixed fruit for 20 minutes. Add sugar and spices and boil for 20 minutes. Leave to cool, then put into jars. It keeps well – I often find myself using the previous year’s at Christmas.
Can be scaled up – just keep the 4:4:3 ratio of apples, fruit and sugar. Weigh the apples before peeling etc. – 2lbs of chopped apples makes the apples too dominant.
The most ambitious thing I've ever made as a present was the first item I ever made for a baby, though I didn’t realise it at the time! It was a sleeping suit, with a pixie hood and long sleeves, and then a body going all the way down to the toes, in a lovely shaded mint green. I had always been told that baby things took very little time to knit, so I was amazed to find out how long this one took. I think my error was in not realising that I was actually making a rather long item, far longer than a normal baby cardigan / jacket, which would have been quick to knit. Still, it was used, and that was the main purpose! Nowadays, babies tend to be made an Elizabeth Zimmerman surprise jacket.
Over the holidays I'm hoping to spend time reading, maybe walking – depends on the weather. I’m hoping to get to start spinning the Cambrian I bought in the summer…but that depends on other projects being finished!
If you enjoyed reading this then please head over and share your holiday traditions, without volunteers there will be no advent blog this year.
Please head over to the form here and fill it out. 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!