Every year hibernation seems more and more appealing. I envy those creatures that by now are cosily hunkered down in a warm cocoon, dreaming of Spring and insulated from the hostile reality of the world above them. Of course the cocoon of a hibernating creature is itself a dark one but somehow, asleep and with your eyes closed, I feel, it doesn't matter so much.
I suspect the appeal of hibernation is more than just physical - being able to switch off for a few months - no work, no stress, no endless list of "to dos", not even meals to get - sounds blissful doesn't it?
But in the absence of real hibernation possibilities, what to do? I have two strategies to meet this challenge which I thought I might share with you. One is the "gemütlich" strategy - ie one may not be able to hibernate but "cosy" sure is possible.
To cultivate "gemütlich" (the German word means a bit more than English "cosy" - a bit like the Scandinavian concept of "hygge"):
1 I bake. Anything. Muffins; scones; chocolate brownies; bread; flapjack; gingerbread - damp gingerbread cake and crisp, yet slightly chewy, gingerbread biscuits like these. The making is therapeutic as is the fragrant warmth that emerges from the oven. As is eating the results.
Especially accompanied by tea in a pink mug with a lucky toadstool on it!
2 I transfer my hibernating instincts to a substitute. Hence the urge to make these hooky hedghogs from the pattern in the November issue of Simply Crochet. The pattern is also available on Ravelry here. They are just made out of odds and ends of yarn left over from other projects, mostly the unwanted "string" colour from my sea-ripple blanket. The soft part of their stuffing is even more thrifty - it's just yarn ends - and as I didn't have any proper safety eyes, I used some black beads from my sewing basket.
They've come out a bit larger than I was anticipating but I've made a virtue out of necessity and by stuffing them partly with plastic pellets, to give them weight as well as bulk, they are perfect paperweights and are sitting happily in my in-tray, weighting down the pile of papers and reminding me every time I look up from my desk that they are hibernating on my behalf!
I am wondering whether the autumn leaves provided for hedgehog-hunkering-comfort might improve my in-tray to boot! By Spring, if I leave it well alone, all that paperwork might have broken down into lovely compost!! Or not, as the case might be!!
3 I go round lighting candles. Any shape or size. Plenty of them. On the supper table; in the bathroom; on the kitchen work-surface. These are just little jam jars which were passed on to me by my mother-in-law for jam-making but the lure of a little, pink, hooky treatment, (courtesy of an adaptation of Sue's pattern, in Granny Squares) and a nightlight was too great!
4 I make homemade soup and serve it in a cup instead of a bowl. I know - why should a cup rather than a bowl make any difference? But I think it does. H agrees with me so it's not just me, either.
My other strategy is resistance-based.
To combat my feelings of creeping inertia and any desire to shut down:
1 I go for a walk as often as I can get out there. Even when the light is failing or it's pouring with rain. But especially if the sun comes out and there's a bright window of opportunity, even if it's only short-lived.
2 I have a clear-out of cupboards, drawers etc. I know this is associated more with Spring-cleaning than autumn or winter but I find it's therapeutic and the feeling of increased space and order, instead of squashed chaos, bolsters my energy levels. I won't post you a pic of before or after - too shameful, I fear! No, H, you may not post that incriminating pic you took of my larder!
3 I avoid drinking any alcohol for a bit and drink plenty of water. I find, this too is an energy-booster and believe it clears my head and skin and probably benefits my liver. Don't disillusion me!
4 I try to think of a way to expand my skills at something - be they crafty, culinary or (if I'm really desperate!) mental arithmetic. This year it's been knitting!
And yes, you do see, not one, but three, pink knitted houses here!
I have always wanted to live in a pink-painted house ever since I was very small. I haven't managed it - yet! But I have not given up hope and in the meantime I am knitting them. If I can bear to part with them, they will become Christmas presents - more dish cloths / face flannels. You can find the pattern on Ravelry here - it's called "Nineteen Hundred House" and it's by Amanda Ochocki. I absolutely love the sash windows and the gabled roof shape.
If you have any tried and tested hibernation strategies you'd recommend me to add to these, I'd love to hear them.
In the meantime, I shall try to resist hibernating with my hedgehogs
as I have a new and, for Mrs T, slightly ambitious, knitting project to launch into!