Perhaps you know the story? How St. Martin of Tours, upon encountering a poor beggar suffering from the cold, ripped his own cloak in two and covered him?
"Martin, what you have done for the least of your brothers, you have done unto me."
That's what Christ said to him, the following night in a dream. And that's the spirit in which we celebrate the feast of St. Martin - Martinmas. Giving of our abundance, going through our clothing and boxing up the gently used for the less fortunate. Knitting needles clicking fast and yarn moving through my fingers, knitting up warmth to offer as gifts to my little ones.
I've been looking forward to this day, November 11. And it was a just a few weeks ago that I began planning -- wondering what could warm the hearts and bodies of my children on Martinmas.
As perfect timing would have it, it was just a few weeks ago that I found Nicole's pumpkin hats. Needless to say, in no time I was browsing cubbies full of yarn at our local yarn shop, searching for just the perfect shade of orange.
I did find that perfect shade, I do believe.
This week I'm working on a fourth pumpkin hat. (Here's my Ravelry link.) As far as saving these hats for Sunday, the little ones will have none of that. Little heads and ears are already being kept warm. I'd have it no other way.
As my math would have it, I bought a bit too much of that perfect shade of pumpkin, a Wooly Wonka Aerten called Bittersweet. No matter. My little sister's birthday is just around the corner and what could be better for a fall birthday than a autumnal hued hat? Have you seen this one? It's Elissa Sugishita's neckwarmer hat. A hat and a cowl, all in one! (Here's my Ravelry link.) It's so easy to knit (perfect for election night knitting, ahem.) and so cute to wear. (Eleanor's already knitted up two.)
Those last two photos bring me back to Martinmas and my current reading. This week I've pulled an old favorite off the shelf, Mrs. Sharp's Traditions by Sarah Ban Breathnach, a Victorian-inspired almanac of family celebrations. If you have the book on your shelf, you can pull it off too and find the description and directions for creating Victorian paper lanterns for Martinmas.
That's what we've been creating this week. It's such a beautiful way to capture light as the darkness of these autumn days grows longer. (I'm so looking forward to decorating our mantle and seasonal table with them.)
We began with watercoloring the lantern paper (just plain old watercolor paper.) Saturate the paper with color and coat the dried paintings with vegetable oil, that's all the children need to do to make a beautiful lantern.
We're still working on our lanterns (the Foss children too) and Elizabeth and I hope to share the images of softly colored Martnmas light from our homes very soon. But in the meantime, I've put together a few links for you, just in case you'd like to capture light this season with your children as well.
Here's an easy watercolor paper lantern tutorial. Or how about this tutorial on folding a traditional star lantern out of those watercolor paintings? (There's a video tutorial too.) And for those of you like me who love, love, LOVE plant-dyed wool felt, here's a tutorial for creating a felt lantern bunting.