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30 The Colour Collaborative: October: Halloween

Charles Raymond apple variety illustrations.

In memory my childhood Halloweens aren't so much orange and black as they're apple-coloured. Hallowe'en, aka Snap Apple Night, was all about the apples.

I've mentioned before that the house I grew up in ...
... was blessed with an ancient apple orchard. Not so unusual in Somerset cider country, although most of ours weren't cider apples. Bridgewater Pippin, Tom Putt, Hoary Morning, Old Pomeroy, an unidentified Russet that my mother has since decided was a Golden Knob, and crab apples.

Apple harvest was a frenetic affair. We always had too much fruit. My mother would fill the apple store, the pantry shelves, the freezer, and still the apples came. Bags of apples and an honesty box would be left at the gate. Visiting friends weren't allowed to leave without a boxful to take home.

The drip-drip-drip of pulped apples straining through a jelly bag was constant: apple and ginger, apple and mint, apple and rosehip, apple and rosemary. Every meal included apple something. Apple dumplings were my favourite, and apple meringue, and crab apple jelly on thickly buttered bread ...
... and toffee apples. The fairy-tale red Old Pomeroys ripened latest, in mid October, and had a sweet sharpness that was the perfect foil to caramel. And a size that was just right for games of Snap Apple but was sadly too big for popping under your Halloween pillow in the hope that you'd dream of the man you would marry.

More than 6000 varieties of apple have been recorded in Britain, and each is distinguishable from the others by its colour/s and the patterning on its skin**. I find that truly remarkable.

Any Halloween apple stories you'd care to share?

* Traditionally Tom Putt was a cider apple but my mother used it for chutneys.

** Okay, so you'd have to be a real expert to tell some of them apart, but even so!

Image 1. Four postcards, illustrations by Charles Raymond for Common Ground, 1999.
Image 2. From the Geoff Charles Collection, National Library of Wales, October 1950

Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below ...

Sandra at Cherry Heart       Gillian at Tales from a Happy House

CJ at Above the River       Jennifer at Thistlebear     

And October's guest poster ...
Steph at Woolythyme

What is The Colour Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.

Thank you so much for all your interesting observations re. ageism in knitting in response to my last post. I'll be popping back to answer some of your comments in the comments just as soon as I can find a few spare minutes.


60 Not so knitso, and some winners

I've changed the blog's subtitle, what do you think? When I ditched knitsofacto a few months back and embraced blogging as bricolage I was anticipating a long period with little knitting, given that I've been struggling for over a year with the effects on my shoulders and arms of spinal osteophytes - a fancy word for bony spurs - at the site of an old injury. But I hadn't anticipated being told that I shouldn't knit at all, as happened this last summer. The bad news is that I may still need surgery, the good news is that as of today I'm permitted some sticks and string action, "within reason, and take it slowly". Truly a frabjous day!

Frustrated by my own limitations I stopped blogging about knitting altogether, which was not my intention when I switched to blogging as me, and was frankly daft. So, going forwards, I shall be aiming for a better content balance and including more knitty stuff.

Although I will be proceeding cautiously at first ... my step back from it all was also prompted by a growing disenchantment with being knitsofacto. Identify yourself as a knitting blogger, build a clearly engaged audience - lovely people, all - and your inbox fills with missives from brazen businesses* who seem to think they're doing you a favour by allowing you to promote their woolly wares for no reward, and less than reasonable requests for pattern support. Ask me nicely for further info or advice and I'm happy to oblige, but demand a pattern rewrite to accommodate your size requirements or unsuitable yarn choices - yes, both have happened, more than once - and I'm going to be miffed.

And equally disenchanting was a growing sense that ageism is becoming an issue in knitting. Knitting's not just for grannies, we're rightly told, but look closely at who's 'made it big' in the knitty world in recent years and you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's only hip under forties who have anything relevant to contribute. Increasingly the hand knitting industry, and its publishing arm particularly, behaves as if knitting isn't for 'grannies' at all**. Agree or disagree? I'd really be interested in your take on this.

And finally - don't worry, I hadn't forgotten - the giveaway winners! I printed off your comments, blindfolded the mister with the scarf he keeps in his dog-walking coat pocket, and armed him with a pin. And he 'perforated' both Julie of Forest Poppy who wins 'Can it be True', and Kirsty of Bonjour Quilts who wins 'The Snow Queen'. Congratulations ladies, if you could email your postal addresses to me I will pop your parcels in the post. And to all those who didn't win ... I have another giveaway scheduled for a few weeks from now!

A note on the image, which is part of the Geoff Charles Collection held by the National Library of Wales. I love everything about this portrait, which is dated 1959 ... the geraniums on the windowsill, the old family portrait photograph on the wall, the sewing machine in its case on the table, the cat sleeping in the chair, the woman's well worn sweater ... it speaks of a gentler time when life was for living not styling. And I'm intrigued by her knitting technique ... if you look closely you can see she has the yarn wrapped around her finger twice to tension it.

* Of course there are lots of great yarny businesses too, the kind that never take for granted the support they get from bloggers.

** Not that I'm a granny yet, but neither am I under forty, or even under fifty now.


38 Time

Fleetingly it seemed possible to reach into the water and grasp a fistful of gold.

Walking along a remote stretch of river bank, alone, on a blustery autumn afternoon, not so much seeking inspiration as simply soaking it up. I don't do such things often enough. I don't have time. I don't make time. I should. I will.

How about you ... do you find time, take time, just to be?

There's a long overdue decluttering beginning here, so mega it's going to take some doing. But less stuff equals more time. And reduce, reuse, recycle equals more everything. So we're making a list of the stuff we can't live without and the rest ... we'll probably freecycle/freegle it. Quietly, I think I'm looking forward to letting a lot of things go.

And finally, because this reminder should have been posted yesterday - yep, it was a time thing - I've extended the deadline for the book giveaway to midnight tomorrow, Saturday October 25th, so if you haven't entered yet now's your chance. Good luck.

PS Thank you for all your sweet comments on my last post. And to those who apologised for giggling ... don't worry, you were meant to!

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