Hopeful spells

And so we edge towards the year’s end.

Christmas has happened in the same way many things have happened this year – quietly.

A blessing. And not a blessing. It is what it is.

One thing that made this Christmas still quite lovely was the Yarn Advent Calendar I bought from Laura at Adventures in Yarncraft.

All the yarny friends and other textile artists that I follow on Instagram give me a colourful, imaginative boost each day. Having the advent to open through December’s darkening days brought some of that glorious colour-rush deep into my home, and into my hands so I could make something with it.

Every day, I made a square from the little mini skeins of wool that came wrapped up in brown paper packages. It will become a scarf or blanket when I finish stitching together these tiny squares.

They feel like magic spells.

Laura popped in all sorts of treats too which have made me Oooh and Ahhh in a Christmassy manner.

(pattern for the Josef Blanket is by Helda Panagary)

The other thing that has protected me from the strangeness of all this separation and lack of contact has been the Textile Artist Stitch Club that I’m a member of, which provides workshops every two weeks.

Over Christmas we were led by Mandy Patullo – one of my favourite textile artists – in making a textile collage of a Robin.

In these last days of December, my daily walks were lit up by the light of snow resting on the hills that surround this small town.

Here’s one of my favourite views of the rooves and the church tower set against the moors above.

When I got home each day, I made some vanilla tea and ate a slice of toasted tea loaf. Small comforting rituals like this have really kept me going through 2020.

There’s been a Windows Advent Calendar going on in the terraced streets around my home this year, and the other day I followed the last few windows until I came to the church which organised it.

There was a nativity scene in the lobby – I could just see it if I put my gloved hands up against the glass panels in the locked door. I’m not a church goer, but I was brought up going to church so the magic of the Christmas story still holds a sense of wonder for me. On the step was a box. In the box were a pile of painted stones, with stars and other symbols on them – along with words like love, peace, and hope.

A sign said that they were for anyone who needed to take one. Often, in the past, I would probably not have done so, thinking I wasn’t enough in need. This year I took one.

I’m hoping for a better year to come, as I’m sure everyone is. And I hope that you all find your own way to weave whatever colourful spells you need to sustain you through these quiet, strange and difficult days.

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