Halloween came and went with very little excitement this year, but I am looking forward to Dia de los Muertos. More closely related to the Catholic tradition of the All Saints's and All Souls Days than to Halloween, the Day of the Day is a Mexican celebration that "scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl." That is according to Widipedia. Iconogrpahy associated with the holiday has become popular - sugar skulls, dressing up like a calavara (skeleton) for Halloween. And somehow the celebration has spread to Glastonbury, England, where we intend to join the party if my stomach bug will go away! Read more about the holiday and check out the line up of events in Glastonbury here.
There were so many great Halloween competitions this year that I fully intended to enter. Pumpkin carving - we never even got around to carving the pumpkin, much less entering it into a contest. So now I'm gathering recipes for pumpkin muffins, and I might preserve some puree to have on reserve when the shops run out after Christmas. Canned pumpkin seems to be scarce in these parts anyway. Please recommend recipes if you have them!
The month came and went, and I didn't manage to finish my little sugar skull creation until Wednesday night, literally at the 11th hour. She is based on Chauncey, a felted skull pattern that is available on the Tangled Laces blog or as a free Ravelry download. Rather than felting my lady, I knit her up in chunky wool with double pointed US 9 needles. She is stuffed with the innards of a cheap grocery store pillow that I bought when the nearest haberdashery was a 40 minute bus ride away.
Yesterday I blogged about overcoming my fear of following crochet patterns. I enlisted the help of a coworker, who kindly let me borrow her copy of 100 flowers to knit & crochet by Lesley Stanfield. All of the patterns in the book are given in words as well as charts/diagrams. I can only follow words when it comes to crochet! Most of the flowers used for this project came from that book. I just sort of free handed the rest - including the crochet eyes, the knitted nose, and the stitched mouth and tattoos.
She might not get entered into any competitions this year, but my little sugar skull has encouraged me to crochet more - and to start amassing a collection of holiday decorations! When one makes a trans-Atlantic move and then house-shares for as many years as I did, one tends not to collect holiday decorations. So now that Olly and I are more settled in Somerset, I'm going to be holiday crafting up a storm. Watch this space!