Thursday, January 2, 2014

keeping warm

Little Brother embraces Claus (who was born in the reindeer barn at the North Pole and presented to Violet as a gift on Christmas morning).

In the midst of this ridiculous cold snap, we've been busy with the business of staying warm. Carrying wood in from the shed, checking the furnace and wood stove when a draft blows over our feet, replenishing the fuel that keeps us so cozy in this big old farm house. 

The cats stay in these nights, and the ponies are shut up in the barn with extra hay and water checked often (it freezes so quickly). The kids are let out for carefully timed outdoor time as the risk of frost bite is very real this week. 

My Wabi Sabi friend laughed uproariously at my confession the other night that I have Scandinavian-heritage-envy. Of course, Irish knitting from the Aran Islands is beautiful in its own right, but I am drawn to the colour work and patterns found in traditional Scandinavian knitting and fabrics. 

This was my response to the tiny thrift-store socks she presented to me (well, to Norah) on New Year's Eve when we gathered here (with parents and FORTY children. Yes, forty). She CAN laugh uproariously, being of Scandinavian heritage herself.

 Norah traipsed around in these wee knee socks like a little elf, and I have no photo because I was so busy finding places for 40 pairs of boots and mitts to dry after the children's brave forays into the cold for sliding and snowy shenanigans while laying out an abundant potluck feast). 

My husband caught the look in my eye as I sat at the kitchen table last evening, calculating numbers of stitches, adapting the shape of the toe, and figuring out if I could make these socks in a toe-up fashion and garter-stitch heel. 

It turns out, I can (at least so far...I haven't reached the heel yet). And all I want to do today, in spite of the fact that we are belatedly celebrating Christmas with my mother-in-law, is sit in this chair by the wood stove (once I've moved the cats, of course), and work away at these tiny socks. Once I've got it working, I'll attempt to record a pattern and will share it here.

But. I must make scalloped potatoes (I make mine with coconut milk and gluten-free flour), a ham, some cabbage salad, and set out wine. Warming food for a cold Canadian evening. 

My urge to hibernate until March is strong, but I must withstand these whims to knit and eat pea soup with ham all winter long and get on with the busyness of keeping everyone warm and fed.


  1. You are SO TALENTED and supper sounds so yummy!! I want to make ham and scalloped potatoes this weekend now but will need guidance. I don't believe I have ever made scalloped potatoes.


  3. The weather is going to swing soon, JJ (on CJOH) said so....and we're going to hold him to it, right?
    Love the knitting. All I want to do is drink tea, eat pea soup and knit as well.

  4. The socks! The socks! YOU ARE KNITTING THE SOCKS! Oh my gosh but you are amazing. I must learn to knit socks - beautiful Scandinavian heritage socks ;-) My mother gave me a bunch of knit hand-alongs some time ago; I wonder if these were from her too? Holy cats, what if she has the pattern?!

    Speaking of cats, I am in love with those snugly grey darlings. And the quilt. And your whimsical blackboard.

  5. mmmmm ham and scalloped potatoes....tea by the stove....knitting or reading.....
    After only two days back at work, I am already so pumped for a weekend of packing away decorations, tidying my house and then resting in my sunroom with a book as I watch the birds at the feeders. Maybe movies downstairs by the woodstove after the sun goes down. I love being outside in winter but when it's this cold? Forget it. I'll stay cozy and warm until the snap breaks. And your cats? How nice. Our older two are still fighting with our new boy even though he's been here for 3 months. :(

  6. Your color work is beautiful, and your cats are too cute!
    Did you really have 40 children for new years? goodness - i can imagine keeping track of all those boots and mitts was a full time job.
    Happy New Year - good luck keeping warm - I've just been watching the news and parts of Canada and the US look pretty cold. Things have warmed up here in the alps - even managed to go out without a hat this afternoon!

  7. Love those socks - feeling like I need to learn how to knit - just saw these on a friend's blog -
    Would love to make some like these !! Have only ever knit once or twice and not so good at it... !
    The kittens are sweet.... 40 kids in the house - don't know how you do that !!!
    Lots of love and all the best to you all for 2014...
    xoxoxoox from alison and rob


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