Silent Night

Last Sunday was Advent Sunday, so we put the Christmas tree up and decorated it. It took a little bit longer this year (maybe we’re a bit older?), but it was good.

A couple of hours after we had finished, the power went out. Storm Arwen did most of her damage on Friday night in our area, so we were surprised to get a power cut on late Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t the tree – we checked and the whole street and most of the town was in darkness.

It’s not until something as ‘invisible’ as electricity goes that you realise how much you rely on it. The heating went off as the boiler itself is powered by electricity. All the lights, except one USB chargeable lamp, went out. We couldn’t make a cup of tea.

So we scrabbled about in the dark to find the small candlesticks and the taper candles and lit three of those. Once it got chilly we lit the gas fire (ignition is battery powered and it had its service less than a week ago!). Carrying the candles into the kitchen to make a quick stove top casserole, we discovered the ignition on the hob is run off the mains, so back to the matches to get that on. We lit the candelabra with the multi-coloured candles that has been on the dining table in the kitchen unused for ages. Going to the bathroom meant taking one of the candles with us.

But it was so quiet. We sat and did a crossword by candlelight and talked. The constant hum of electrical equipment that is always on the edge of our awareness had stopped and it was peaceful.

A free standing Christmas decoration of a plaster sheep, with a rug over its back, with a cat sleeping on the rug and a small red bird sitting on the cat, stands on a base that is inscribed with the text "Sleep in Heavenly Fleece" is on the mantlepiece. Behind it part of a red and white glass clock and a small china Santa can be seen.

The power cut only lasted two and a half hours for us – barely anything compared to the four days some people in Wales have endured. But it made us stop, reflect and be grateful for the many things we still did have and were able to do (even without electricity for a little while). When the power came back on (as we sat down to eat and just in time for the Strictly results show) we were glad, but there’s something in that still quietness we had imposed on us that I don’t want to lose.

Today sees the start of the Fasten Off Yarn-a-Long for 2021 which runs until the end of the year. The discount code (valid from 9pm tonight EST until 11.59pm 6th December EST) is FO2021 and gives the same 25% discount for all patterns (well over 2000) from all the designers who are involved – that’s 101 of us. My page for the event is here.

In knitting progress, I’m back on track with the socks – the first leg is finished and I’ve started the heel flap.

A stripy sock in progress is shown on maroon fabric. The beginnings of the heel flap in blue show at the top of the work. Part of a hand is visible holding the sock flat.

I emailed my pattern with four days to spare before the deadline. I’m almost halfway through the sample for my second secret knitting and last night I knitted a bauble. I used the blank chart at the back of Arne & Carlos’ 55 Christmas Balls to Knit book to create a treble clef design and I’m quite pleased with it. I’ll be making two as Christmas gifts. It’s been a couple of years since I last made one of these baubles and I’m glad I still have the book to refer to for the shaping.

A hand knitted stranded Christmas bauble lies on maroon fabric. The background is cream with two bright red treble clefs showing. The bauble has not yet been stuffed and finished.

I’ve also cast on another design-in-progress of mine as I’ve decided to knit a sample in my size as I finish the write up of the pattern – partly to check the numbers and pattern writing and partly to get a new jumper! Unfortunately this is another thing I can’t show you yet, but I can show you the yarn I’m using. It’s Fleece by West Yorkshire Spinners, a really smooth DK yarn in Bluefaced Leicester wool – I’ve done the ribbing of the back so far and it’s working up beautifully. The colour is called Bramble.

A skein of deep purple yarn lies diagonally on a pale gold carpet. The text on the white ball band says "West Yorkshire Spinners/ Fleece/ 100% British Wool/ Bluefaced Leicester/ DK".

The really tricky decision for today will be which of these projects do I take with me to my mum’s for the next few days? Actually, I think I know the answer to that – all of them.

Take care, have a look at the Fasten Off Yarn-a-Long (it’s for crocheters as well as knitters), wear your mask and stay safe out there. K x

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