Welcome to day 14 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 spinner is Elvira from Cottbus, Germany.
I'm still fairly new at spinning and don't have that much time to practice so when I have the time I try practicing or learning new techniques. I'm a knitter (that's why I learned spinning), I have a weaving loom and I know how to crotchet (but I don't do it very much). Apart from that I like to read (but don't do it enough) and I like photography - I have a small collection of analogue cameras (like ... I'm not only on my way to build a yarn and fibre stash ... I have a camera stash too).
Since I won't be at home during the holidays I can't use my spinning wheel. But I'm going to knit - and if I'm fast enough maybe I'll finish a shawl out of handspun yarn. I'll try to read a bit more and go out and take pictures with my film camera. And maybe I'll attend a wintersports event as a visitor - since there won't be enough snow around to cross country skiing by myself.
October three years ago I decided that I want to knit a blanket for my mum. I chose the simplest pattern that's possible (a rectangle bias) and bought some super bulky yarn. That doesn't sound super ambitious. But it took me three years to finish it. Three years! The alpaca yarn was so fuzzy that it got into my nose and my eyes and drove me crazy. The bulky needles aren't super fun to work with. Those garter stitch rows were sooo boring. So I left it in it's WIP box for a looong time until some weeks ago when I took it out and finished the damn thing. I'm never ever going to knit someone a present again. To much pressure.
My family celebrates Christmas Eve, but in a non-religious way. Ill be celebrating with my parents, usually with mysister (sadly not this year because she's on the other side of the world) and my boyfriend at my grandparent's home. On the following days my dad's brothers and their families come to visit too, so the whole family comes together. That's what the most important part of Christmas is for me.
During the Advent I like to get in the right mood by visiting Christmas markets. I love the lights, the smell. The Christmas tree goes up on the 23th December. We haven't had a "real" tree since years - the plastic tree is so much easier! On the afternoon of the 24th (Christmas Eve) we sometimes go to the church to watch the nativity play, even if my family is not religious. But it's nice to see how the kids and teens interpret the story every year. Before or after that we eat christmas cookies and stollen and have coffee or hot chocolate. Than the cooking begins. Some families prefer easy and quick meals for Christmas Eve but ever since I can remember my grandma cooks her variation of a traditional Silesian Christmas dinner: bratwurst, blood sausage and liver sausage with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. I loved this as a child - but I don't eat meat anymore so I think I'm going to establish a new Christmas dinner. After dinner we go for a walk or "looking for the elves". When I was a kid this was the time when one of my parents would put the presents under the tree. No need to do it in secret anymore but it's the perfect time to look how the other people decorated their houses and gardens. In the evening we have what's called "Bescherung" in German. That's when we give each other the gifts. Additionally everyone get's a plate with sweets, nuts and fruits that my mom prepares. We sing and play Christmas songs (some of my family members are really musically). Later we watch Christmas themes music shows on TV or listen to vinyls or CDs, play old or new bord or card games.
There are so many yummy things at this time of the year that it's kind of hard to decide. My mom is an avid baker and I inherited that to some degree so baking christmas cookies is mandatory. But there are a lot of things that I love but I can't make by myself like Stollen or Dominosteine (that translates to 'domino tiles' - it's a small praline like thing with a gingerbread base, a layer of jelly and a layer of marzipan, coated with chocolate in a cubic form). But I love basically everything!
One of my favourite types for christmas cookies are called 'Hirschknöpfe' (deer buttons) - I think it's because you put half of a walnut on top of it and it looks a bit like an antler?
To bake them you need:
500 g flour
200 g sugar
300 g butter
1 package vanilla sugar
1/2 package baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tblsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cocoa
Mix together flour, sugar, butter, vanilla sugar, the egg and the baking powder. Make a dough and roll out rolls of 2 cm diameter. Mix cinnamon, sugar and cocoa. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and roll the dough rolls around. Chill the rolls for 24 hours. Cut the rolls into 1/2 cm thin slices and out the half of a walnut on it. Bake for 10 min in 180° C. Enjoy!
Thanks Elvira for her post, come back tomorrow for another spinner...