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Having grown up with only two seasons, I find it difficult to adjust to the dramatic changes in the day here, especially in Winter. Although it sits right in the middle of my favourite season, I dread the Summer solstice because it marks the beginning of the decline of light and warmth, and the rising supremacy of dark and cold.

So it is by happy coincidence that R.’s birthday often falls on the day of the Winter solstice – the shortest, darkest day, which nevertheless heralds the gradual strengthening of light and warmth. That his presence should so palpably harbour the promises of the better season is just one of the reasons for my idolatry!

On a prosaic note, all this also means that cold-weather gear is an appropriate present for him – and here is this year’s offering:

  • Pattern: My own. I searched all available sources for a pattern that I liked, but I couldn’t find one. I wanted a seamless glove with a 45 degree thumb, so I just made it up as I went along. I traced and measured R.’s hand a few years ago, and I used these measurements to knit the fingers. I added a slip-stitch contrast stripe pattern to make it a bit more interesting and to add structure.
  • Yarns: Kathmandu DK tweed in 423 ‘Mustard’, just over one ball; and Rowan Harris 4ply
    in ‘Herring’, scraps. (You probably get a medium woman’s pair of gloves from one ball of Kathmandu, even without the contrast yarn).
  • Needles: My grandmother’s steel 3.5mm dpns.

For a man who swore he would never wear conventional office clothes, R. has developed a surprising obsession with neck ties. So I also bought him this silk Octopus tie from the lovely Jes Switaj. And because I can’t let a birthday go by without giving him a book, he also gets Orhan Pamuk’s book of essays, Other Colours.

We’ll celebrate with his twin and the rest of his family later, and I’ll be able to do some last-minute knitting before the rush of the next few days.


dish cloth / pot holderSome quick knitting to satisfy clamouring family members, for whom store-bought dish cloths and pot holders are just not good enough any more. A very easy little cloth which still provides some interest in the making through short rows and eyelets.

The weather is miserable, and the days are grey and wet. Just another week or so before Christmas jollity begins!