Happy Halloween, and warm wishes for electricity to all of you on the US East Coast. It’s firmly fall here, and since there’s no Thanksgiving and Halloween is but a semi-holiday, we proceed directly to Sinterklaas and Christmas. Hooray!
The trees are burning yellow; the streets are graced by Cinderella pumpkins intended to be eaten, not just carved (shout-out to a certain resident of Keene, NH); and the shops are full of Zwarte Pieten.
Sinterklaas arrives in Holland in late November (check your town here) and spends a few weeks going around checking up on people (i.e., determining if ZP needs to take you back to Spain in his sack) before the actual holiday on 5 December, so my favorite chocolate shop is not yet carrying the traditional chocolate letters. Marzipan everything is everywhere, though, and kruidnoten (Hmm: should I make them?) are at the markets—both are signs that the holidays are coming.
Although I am grateful for the excuse to listen to Christmas music early, and I’ve never been huge on Halloween, I was still a bit affronted back in September when I saw a Christmas tree appear in the window of a local bookshop. I wandered in to investigate and discovered that the tree signified a contest, wherein people could decorate the tree with knitted ornaments and the three top ornaments chosen by the staff of the bookshop would win some rather enticing prizes. I decided that of course I must enter, and having never knitted anything round in my life, set out to make a model of Sinterklaas himself.
Here’s the result. I didn’t work off a pattern but found a tutorial for the basic ball (at which point I created a greyish ball and pronounced it “Sinterklaas’s head”) and then designed several prototypes myself for the beard before arriving at one I liked. His hat is a little more beanie than bishop, but now he’s on his way: decorating the bookshop for the holidays.