Wednesday, December 7, 2011


December is always a very busy month. An American friend of mine who now lives in Australia commented recently that Australians celebrate Christmas very enthusiastically - that every work and social group, and every group of friends seems to feel the need for a Christmas celebration. I think it's not that Christmas itself and its traditional meaning has special significance for Australians, I think it's just that Christmas gets caught up with other occasions of celebration - the coming of summer, summer vacations, the end of the school year, several days away from work. There's a general feeling of winding down, of laxness, of the pause that comes before a new year of new starts.

I like this time of year. I like the feeling of tidying up the year's activities at work and I catch up with friends I don't see often throughout the year. And I go to some parties. I no longer go to many parties, and sometimes I no longer feel enthusiastic about doing so. But at Christmas it's particularly ungracious not to make the effort and I know I almost always enjoy myself once I'm actually there.

This past weekend I went to two wonderful parties. On Saturday a neighbour held a party that was perfect. There were luxurious and generously sized canapes, waiters filling your champagne flute the instant the level in the glass lowered and, most amazingly, a piano and four singers performing songs from my favourite old musicals - Carousel, Kismet, South Pacific - and Cole Porter standards. We were even encouraged to sing along. And all I had to do to get home was take the lift up one storey. A perfect party indeed.

Then on Sunday there was afternoon tea with my knitting group. Lots of bubbles and tea drinking, finger sandwiches, strawberries and cream, scones with jam and cream and small cakes. And, of course, knitting and knitting chatter and knitting laughter. The high point of the afternoon was our Christmas gift swap. Everybody brought a hand-crafted Christmas decoration to be randomly received by another. The variety and ingenuity of the gifts was astounding. There were, of course, knitted and crocheted decorations - stars, baubles of many kinds, santas, Christmas trees, and tiny, delicately knitted garments. There was also embroidery, petit point (I received a perfect tiny petit point reindeer) and beading and probably much else I've neglected to note.

I'm not sure why, but I decided to make some bunting. I love the look of colourful bunting and like the idea that it can be recycled for various occasions. So I searched for my mother's old pinking shears (and miraculously found them) and proceeded to cut out triangles of bright fabric until I couldn't bear to cut any more.

bunting flags

I was very pleased with the outcome, and, if I can ever summon the energy to do more cutting up of fabric, would like to make some for myself.

Bunting 1


Rose Red said...

Your neighbour's party sounds perfect indeed!

I loved your bunting! I wish I had been able to choose it!

DrK said...

i was so surprised by the bunting, it was just lovely! i quite like this time of year too, especially the winding down part. i have a whole month off work and cant wait. im hoping to fit in quite a lot more knitterly gatherings!

Lynne said...

Bunting is very popular in the US quilting world as are many types of handmade decorations.

I think you're right; sometimes wonder what Christmas would be like if we moved it to the mid-winter and it wasn't wrapped up in the "end of year"! I know, as a teacher, it was hard to summon up enthusiasm for all the pre-Christmas tasks when there was so much going on at work: exams, reports, parent-teacher night, presentation night, school picnic, etc. etc, etc!

Bells said...

I have often wondered what it would be like to have Christmas as just a break in proceedings rather than a symbol of the end of the year, which it kind of ends up being for us in this part of the world.

It's entirely wrapped up in all those things you mentioned, school finishing, holidays in the sun etc. To have it as just a few days off work would be quite different!

I'm more and more inclined towards bunting. I think I must try and make smoe. Great use of pinking shears!

Brendaknits said...

Your parties sound like so much fun. There can be too many places to be at Christmas time, but when the parties are as great as the ones you went to, one doesn't mind so much.

missfee said...

I love the bunting and can't wait to put it up in the house - I will be taking a photo for you!

thank you so much Lyn

I love the mad catch up this time of the year - my brain does tend to explode though

NessaKnits said...

That bunting is delicious!

Jan said...

I rather like your bunting and you almost have me hunting for Mum's pinking shears. Almost. Then again, I have the shelves and books to decorate, so I may look.

The apartment block I'm in has a large roof garden with huge tables and benches, BBQ and other facilities to save going back to your own place. Last year, I'm told, there were almost 100 people and a small ensemble up there for what was really a fairly impromptu party. The ensemble was organised at last minute by an owner here. Apparently there was such enjoyment that they did it all again on New Year's Eve. We have a good view of Bridge from here for those so inclined and while we can't see the water, could probably see other fireworks points. I'm not concerned if I miss them but the facility is there.

I'm not sure where the pinking shears are but I do know where some darning wool is, as used to be sold in plaits of various colours, and the cowrie shell my grandmother used to darn over.

Yarna said...

The bunting was inspired! Wasn't Sunday afternoon fun? How lucky we are to have so many like-minded friends.

1funkyknitwit said...

The weekend was great ! I find this time of the year a little crazy but there is fun to be had along the way to help keep sane .)
The bunting was a surprise and stunning ! ..and it looks SO good on your bookshelf that *yes* you do need to make some for yourself :D