Monday, October 14, 2013

Counting Season

Fall is officially here.  The days are growing shorter, the air is getting crisp and cool.  It seems to be a signal:  'Round about now, everyone seems to start counting things.  Counting down the days to the holidays (and how many gifts to buy/knit/make/bake).  Counting the weeks and months to upcoming fiber shows.  Counting the jars of preserves in the pantry (and whether more jars need to be put up).  Counting items added to to-do lists and tasks crossed off.  Counting the acorns on the ground (not an actual count, of course, but in the broad sense*).  Counting how many ringlets you've glued (oh wait, that's just me).

I try to avoid getting crazed with the counting and instead be more in the moment and focus on the beauty of the season.  It's my favorite.  With the cooler weather comes the changing colors of the trees, making morning walks so much more pleasant.  It's the season of stocking the larder, with flours for baking and dried beans for soups, in preparation for the winter ahead.  The local apple orchards open their stands, with gorgeous fruits begging to be made into pies and applesauce.  Pumpkins start appearing everywhere, and many find their way home with me. 

Some counting is fun counting.  This time of year I like to peruse cookbooks and "country wisdom" books, and often read through Thomas Tusser's "A hundredth good pointes of husbandrie" and sometimes his 500 points,** as well as other writing about the country year.   The old folklore is mostly amusing, but sometimes there is some wisdom to be found.  

Other seasonal counting rituals I indulge in is making counted cross stitch ornaments.  Each year I try to make at least one of a series of Santa ornaments, and if I have time I'll make Halloween ornaments as well.  Which brings me to these really sweet counting pins.

These pins were gifted to me by my friend Diane from Puffin & Company.  Originally designed as counting pins for needlepoint and cross stitch, they also make great knitting gauge pins.  And I'm thinking that with a little stick pin clasp, they'd be cute on a sweater.  Hmm.   Oh, and if you do counted cross stitch, needlepoint, or punchneedle, Puffin's thread separators are awesome. 

*Local folklore says that lots of acorns on the ground means a cold, wet winter.  Everyone keeps mentioning the abundance of acorns on the ground this year.  We shall see.

**Thomas Tusser was an English farmer and poet from the early 1500's.  His poems on farming and the country year are the source of many well-known proverbs, including "At Christmas play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year," and "A fool and his money are soon parted."  Both his Hundreth and 500 Points are available online for free.