Winter is when the mountains are to be savoured, the brisk cold wind to be sniffed , the bright clear sunshine to be soaked, and the clear blue sky to be admired. It is the season for brief meetings with friends over tea and talk, for long walks in the forest, for quiet evenings with a book / knitting / snoring dog/ TV remote.
All summer visitors have returned to the smoggy plains, missing out the best time in the mountains. These days, the market is full of familiar faces– I know the roasted peanut sellers, the bangle shop owner, the tailors, the vegetable vendors. Drinking tea and tucking into samosas and pakoras, while talking about the possibility of rain or snow, makes every shop the home of a friend. These days, we talk about Paytm, swiping cards, changing old notes and drinking some more tea. Demonetisation seems to have been a hiccup in Ranikhet’s ambling stride, nothing more.
Winter days begin with rose and grey skies over the Himalayas. Our resident dogs behave like noisy morning roosters, barking at the receding night, marathon trainers, regular walkers, and other dogs with equal boisterous energy. Right now, its Choti, Kajal, Bruni, Chintu and Hansmukh….yes, we do spend time thinking up of the right name for each canine companion of ours! Everyone pitches in with their suggestions. Earlier ones of Tiger, Rocky and Jacky have been vetoed enough for people to realise that I will not use any of those names…
Mornings are for sitting in the sunshine and knitting away. This month has been about knitting cardigans. A friend sent some lovely Canadian wool to knit into cardigans for her sisters. The patterns looked simple and smart, easy enough for the knitters to make them. Or so I thought…Translating the instructions into simple Hindi, ( when it was my toughest subject in school), getting the point across to the knitters and watching them struggling with my terrible Hindi just broke my heart.
Finally, it seemed easier to knit the yolks myself, and give them the body and sleeves..the easy bit.
This free delightful pattern from garnstudio.. Lesson learnt in this one? Free patterns can have convoluted or composted instructions….
And this one,this lovely lilac cardigan,..with neat pockets, collar and sleeve shaping..
Knitting from Knitty.com is a great experience. The instructions and tutorials can make an expert out of an amateur. Highly recommended!
Note the collar shaping, the set in sleeves etc..I am quite thrilled about this one.
The best experience, however, has to be with paid patterns from Brooklyn Tweed. Currently, I am knitting a cardigan for my daughter, with thick fat alpaca wool, and see the pattern. Marylebone from Bristol Ivy, with concise, smart instructions and diagrams. Its when I use such patterns, do I realise how much work goes into producing a good pattern with no mistakes and bloopers.
Sitting in the winter sun, thinking of patterns and knitting and life.
Who really cares about demonetisation and other demons?!