I always love this time of the year. It's cool outside and the garden is sleeping. The leaves are cleared, the bushes are trimmed and fragile plants are bedded down with straw for the winter. Even the frenetic build-up to the holiday season has ended and everyone is feeling well-fed and ready for a change of pace.
And I find, year after year, that this is the time I turn my attention to dyeing and spinning. It just seems to come naturally with the change to the New Year. And I'm not alone, for across many countries today is celebrated as a special day for spinners. It's called Roc Day or St Distaff's Day and happens the day after Twelfth Night.
Back in the day when spinning was a long and arduous daily toil for many women, it would be understandable if they might have a bit reluctant to return to their tasks. However, it was made considerably more pleasant by celebrating with other villagers for one final day of merriment before the real work started again.
If you fancy celebrating Roc Day this year, then check your local paper as a number of local spinning groups have events planned for the weekend. And even if you're not a spinner you can join in the fun by knitting a project using hand-spun yarn from your local yarn store or Farmers' Market.
I have a number of patterns that can be worked with hand-spun yarn:
At the top left there's the Henley Blanket in a two-tone blue and purple combination. The photo at the top right shows a scarf, the Sawston Infinity Scarf, which is worked in a beautifully soft Blue-Faced Leicester yarn. If you have never tried this fibre then see if you can find some soon - it may be the softest wool you have ever worked with.
And lastly, the Ocean Currents Blanket that I featured in my last blogpost is shown alongside a co-ordinating rug, the Ocean Currents Rug.
Of course, you can choose to use hand-spun yarn for any knitting pattern if you have the right weight of yarn for the pattern - feel free to experiment!
Until next time, enjoy your spinning, knitting and merry-making,