Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

21 December 2008

Quiet Here

I've been in a bit of a winter funk. Christmas stuff seemed to spring on me all too early, and I don't seem to have the energy for it.

I managed to get out to a tree farm and with our son's help, get the tree decorated. I did get out shopping the other day, but I feel like my buying-stuff impulse is completely broken. Instead of enjoying picking things out, I felt overwhelmed by the wall of choices.

My husband gives a present every Christmas Eve to his extended family of his time and his cooking skills, buying the ingredients and making the seafood chowder his busia used to make for Christmas Eve. (This is not a cheap gift, not with bay scallops and oysters and lobster tails and shrimp all in one kettle.)

I find myself wishing I could do something like that. I've never felt I was that good at picking stuff out for other people. In the past I've been buying gift cards, but when two of last year's choices ended up in bankruptcy this year, even that seems like a risky choice.

I often feel I live in a country where the pursuit of happiness is assumed to be achievable by acquiring enough stuff. And I'm just tired of stuff.

Today I did not go out to even look at stuff. It was cold, with a high of 28 degrees F (-2 C). At 2 am. The temperature plummeted from there, and sat around 8 F (-13 C) most of the day, with occasional dips down to 6 F (-14 C). Between that and blowing snow, it seemed like a good idea to stay home, knit and make some bread.

When I was a kid, I never understood how winter could begin on December 21st. The astronomical event of the winter solstice doesn't correspond to the meteorological events of winter here. When you've had snow since November, what does it mean to say winter starts in December?

The solstice is the bottom of the gully as far as daylight goes. We're down to nine hours and something as of today. From here on out, it's all uphill into longer days.

This is all the same scarf with different yarns alternating and running out and new ones alternating. I've been knitting on it for so long, it's hard to believe the end is in sight. It's the same purple (it started out purple) waffle scarf that I started back in January of 2007. Only ten or so inches to go.

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Blogger tatt3r said...

I like your waffle scarf and those beautiful, heathery colors. I think we all have a touch of winter funk. Hang on, it's got to break soon!

8:47 PM  
Blogger Bells said...

See, Sean argues that we've got it wrong here. We say summer starts on Dec 1 and (and winter on July 1) and he says that's all wrong because it's supposed to start on the solstice. But you're right - it looks like you've been all wintry for ages already - whereas this year, summer seems a bit slow in kicking off.

And hey, with that much snow, I'd be indoors with yarn and bread too, so I reckon stay there if it makes you happy!

4:26 AM  
Blogger HobbygÃ¥sa said...

Hehe, I see what you say - my winter also starts early November with the first snow. And the freezin cold weather. I have had winter for two months now, and I am really exited that we can look forward to longer days from now. Within a month we will start to see some results yay! Merry Christmas Alwen!

5:24 AM  
Blogger Lona said...

I'm sorry to hear about your Christmas funk--but I would hardly categorize a lack of joy in buying "stuff" as a funk. Your dh has the right idea--giving of himself. Do your gift recipients appreciate bread and knitted goods?

At any rate, Merry Christmas, Alwen. Looks like we'll definitely have a white holy-day this year!

7:43 AM  
Blogger Norm Deplume said...

I am here on the funk bench with you. I love the get-together part of Christmas, but I do not at all enjoy the stuff-buying. I hate hate hate it in fact.

Mr Deplume and I had the same conversation about the solstice and winter's fist day yesterday. It was -2.4 as I headed out for church yesterday, with a high of 7. Seven. Studip Canadian air. >:(

8:54 AM  
Blogger amy said...

I don't enjoy the stuff buying either. Would you enjoy making gifts more? I have given homemade bread as a gift in the past. Not many people actually make their own bread. They seem mystified. Even my grandmother, who made wonderful pie crust in her day (something I can't do) is impressed by homemade bread because she is intimidated by the science of it. (I blame my engineer grandfather, who felt she was incapable of mixing formula correctly. Old crank.)

Sorry for the digression! We haven't had snow and cold for as long as you have and I'm already in a funk about it. Between doctor's appointments, sick kids, and now the snow, I've barely gotten any Christmas stuff done in the last two weeks, and I've barely gotten out of the house in a week (and that was for a doctor's appointment, not fun at all). I'm already stir crazy, it's not even January, and today it's 3 degrees with the wind chill. Not getting out today, either.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Roxie said...

Thank God for the internet! Can you imagine being one of our pioneer foremothers, stuck in a cabin with a fireplace and only your own family for company, no electric lights, and no entertainment but books and what you can create? My GOD they were hardy girls! We have it sooo easy! I just visit blogs in Australia and get a break from the freezin' season. I watch 1930s musicals on TV while I spin and ignore reality altogether. I don't think I would have made it in the good old days.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Geek Knitter said...

I dropped out of Christmas gift-giving several years ago. I'll bring pies to all the family gatherings because I happen to know that my aunt adores apple pie, but that's about it.

Winter Solstice always brings me hope. I know that there's still a lot of cold and wet on the way, but at least I'll get a bit more light!

Peace to you.

PS: word verification is "ungue"... I've got this picture of things coming unstuck.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Knitting Linguist said...

I know what you mean about all of the stuff. It's exhausting and overwhelming, and I can't quite figure out the why all the time. I hope that the staying-indoors and bread-baking keep you warm!

2:32 PM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

When my kids were little and i was a stay at home mom, I made all of our bread. it was delicious and never got wasted. I miss those days. I have a breadmaker now and I use it frequently but the satisfying feel of dough in your hands is missing. I make bread when I can on weekends. It was unseasonably warm today, probably close to 50 degrees. After below zeros days just a few days ago. Weird.

I hope you all had a peaceful and happy holiday.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Rose Red said...

I know how you feel about "stuff" (which I think you've guessed from my post about moving!!). With the exception of yarn and yarn related stuff, I'm really trying not to get any more stuff. I love the idea of charity gifts, and think I will be doing that next year.

6:56 PM  

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