Sunday, 7 November 2010

November - my new favourite month

I've been a "silent blogger" for the past two months, busy with work and knitting projects for work colleagues who are embracing motherhood for the first time. City and Guilds has been a bit on the back-burner but did inspire a full-on exploration of entrelac, which led me to select this Debbie Bliss pattern for one of the baby knits. And before things got so frantically busy, I enjoyed designing my own combination of stitch patterns like this one for Module 6.

It has been a rich although sometimes confusing time and I've been wondering about my life's purpose along the way. Things suddenly became much clearer on Tuesday and I now have the sense of a vision of the way forward, that includes knitting and my connection to Shetland. This picture of a sculpture in London that we saw during birthday celebrations for my other half's 50th in September sums up the exuberance that I'm currently feeling (even though it looks a bit windy and my sense of balance is a bit dodgy!).

The conference on Shetland in September was wonderful - awesomely good weather and a splendid crowd of people attending and presenting. This is honestly a picture of Lerwick Harbour during the event, with some of the conference participants enjoying the sunshine. There is so much interest in Shetland knitting traditions and it was really good to watch people discover the place for themselves. There was a write-up in The Knitter (issue 24) and probably elsewhere too. We took possession of our new house while we were up there and the picture below is the view from my bedroom window there, down at the south end of the mainland near Sumburgh Head.
On a clear day you can see Fair Isle. There are two sandy beaches close by and on one of these I found this beautiful image.

Now it's November, the clocks have changed and the days are shorter. I've always found this a challenging time but this year I've decided to change my attitude to it. After all, there's lots to celebrate: the witchiness of Hallowe'en is swiftly followed by All Souls' and All Saints' Days at the start of the month, then Bonfire Night, if you like it (although actually I don't because of the distress that the loud fireworks cause to pets). This is undoubtedly easier when the weather is as sunny as it's been today. Back in Oxford, we went for a walk in the woods at Shotover Country Park and then I did some work in the garden. It was magical outside, with a strong sense of the longevity of the trees all around us, not dying but shedding old growth so that new can rise up. At home in the garden I found new growth pushing through at the base of a sedum plant that is still burning with its glorious autumn colours. So now November is my new favourite month, a time of winter ritual and celebration, getting ready for Advent, the transformation and promise of Christmas and renewal of spring.