Welcome to day 9 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 Kirsten, she lives in Sydney, Australia, and here's how she celebrates Jul. Of course down in the Southern Hemisphere it's currently their summer, so it's nice to hear from someone who's currently experiencing some sunshine
In mid-winter there's the occasional 'Christmas in July', but Christmas proper falls in the middle of summer in this part of the world. In Australia, generally this means trying to adapt traditions designed to keep everyone warm and cosy into trying not to suffer heat stroke. My own family has Danish heritage, so at least all the cooking is aimed at Christmas Eve, and a cold meal on Christmas Day.
I prefer the term 'Jul' (Yule), as there nothing religious in our celebration - it's a lovely chance to get together with family as we live across 3 major cities in Australia (300-1200km apart), and down time from work, study and any other commitments. My family all return to my parents house to celebrate there - it's not really an extended family, so it stays a small event. The house is decorated, there's a turkey on Christmas Eve, mandelgave (literally 'almond gift'), julesange ('Christmas carols'), and presents from under the tree distributed after everything else is done. Christmas Day is quiet and low key - I've found it's a great day to go for a walk or bike ride, as most other Australians are at home doing the more typical Christmas Day celebrations (and besides, everything is closed).
My favourite foods are confusingly both traditional Danish dishes and fresh fruit - all the best fruit is in season, so it wouldn't be Christmas without cherries, mangoes, stone fruits, berries...
Mandelgave is traditionally a whole almond hidden in risalamande/risengrød (rice pudding) - whoever finds the only whole almond gets a special gift. In our house, this has been replaced with fruit salad and icecream layered in a parfait glass (there's still a single almond).
In terms of spinning my default seems to be fingering weight, and I love interesting blends of fibre, though I always like trying out methods and fibres I haven't tried before. I do a little bit of all the things (knit, crochet, weave), making me sort of adequate but not particularly good at any. I also like spinning better, so I end up with lots of yarn (and good intentions), but not so many finished projects. My other on and off hobbies include taiko (Japanese drumming), an assortment of dance styles over the years, various other musical instruments, sewing, and just recently trying karate. In an ideal world, I want to do all the things!
For gifts, I try not to go too ambitious, I have made an iPad case, a few different types of bags, spun yarn (for recipients who can knit), and a number of things over the years that I have forgotten about...!
Spinning over the holidays will be a couple of advent calendars which should keep me busy. As I won't be at home, it has to be managed on a spindle (no wheel), and I have to remember to take the fibre with me!
Thanks to Kirsten for sharing her Jul celebrations with us, come back tomorrow for another spinner.