Happy Solstice

Here we are, at this day of the year that I  love so much.  Solstice.  I’ve written at length before about it, (here and here) The longest night, the shortest day. 
I got up last night at 3am and went outside in to the backyard to look up at the moon.  Fully eclipsed on the solstice night.  Something that hasn’t happened since the 1600’s and won’t happen again for about 400 more years.  It was odd, and lovely and I stood there in my boots and bathrobe, staring up the moon in the dark.  Then I took a breath of the solstice night air, turned to come in and smiled.  My neighbour was out there too.  Standing in his snow boots and pajamas, staring up at the moon. 

From now on (very slowly) the light comes back.  No more dark breakfasts and dinners, no more travelling to and from work or school without the sun.  It’s a very, very hopeful thing for a northern people, and in that spirit (hopefulness) I’ve had Natalie working hard on the Knitters Without Borders inbox.  You may have noticed the number in the sidebar creeping ever upwards – and I know that looks like slow progress and it seems like we’re horrible slackers for being so slow with it, but I just want you to imagine for a minute what that inbox is like. Even if the average donation was $50 – to get to $50 000 (and we have way more than that) it’s a thousand emails.  Imagine now that a lot of those emails are actually for $5 – and think about how long it might take to get through it.  It’s not a problem, and we’re tremendously happily unbelievably happy for a donation of a single dollar – but it takes a while to do the mail.   (I actually love the $5 donations.  I feel like they’re really heartfelt.  If what you can spare is $5, that means that you don’t have a lot of cash to throw around, and that you would give a donation at all when money is that significant and scarce?  Does a heart good.  It really does.)  The other thing that I love?  That you’re all so committed to sending those emails and keeping the cash coming, that I needed to hire an assistant to work on it one morning a week.  It’s a good sign of decency in the world.  That delightful assistant, Natalie, has organized a giveaway for today, a little round of Karmic balancing gifts.  People offer a gift, Nat (or I) use a random number generator to choose who – from the mighty spreadsheet of everyone who ever donated- gets one, and then we marry up the giver and giftee.  To celebrate the solstice, here’s the first round – there will be more.  I’ve emailed the lucky knitters to let them know they’ve won.  If you think it’s you, check your inbox.

Brittany from Knit Witch has offered a beautiful yarn bowl.

It’s going to live with Nance H.

Andey Layne has generously donated a skein of yarn, the winners choice of a fingering or lace weight from her site. 

Vicky will have the fun of picking.

Our delightful Mistress of the Stash Weasels, McKenna, has offered a darling woollen weasel (this one is mine.)

Going to guard the stash of Melinda N. (McKenna does commissions for weasels, if you need one of your own.)

Kathleen has donated a pattern for her fabulous KWB/TSF hat,

Andrea will be downloading it. (All proceeds from that pattern go to KWB.  It’s pretty cool)

Not to be outdone, Pauline is offering a full set of twelve patterns from her site,

and the lucky Lana G will be enjoying them.

Finally, last but not least, the big hearted Amy L. offered a skein of Daniel (from The Yarn Stash)

and it is switching allegiances and going to be enjoyed by Stellaluna.

And with that.. I wish you a happy, happy Solstice. Remember, my friends no matter how dark it is now, Solstice means the light is coming. 

95 thoughts on “Happy Solstice

  1. I was gutted to miss the solstice sunrise & lunar eclipse this morning; snow-cloud cover kept it hidden. Though it’s nice to be reminded that the light really is coming.

  2. Could I be first?
    Like you, I’m always glad to see the solstice come and bring with it longer and longer days. I just hope the longer days will bring with them some higher temps. We are tired of being in the lower 20’s.

  3. Happy solstice to you too. We tried to wake up for the eclipse but slackers that we are, we didn’t make it. How’s your back? You’ve been doing a lot of stuff lately so I hope that means it snapped back into place without lasting damage.

  4. Yay for light! And now I’m overcome with the need for a stash weasel and a hockey-playing knitted beaver. I didn’t know either of these things existed, and now I feel certain I can’t live without either. Odd how that works…

  5. I watched from outside in my Ugg boots, nightgown and coat. At first I almost missed it because it was SO dark (I watched it at about 3:15). But there it was. I’ve seen a total eclipse before, and it looks quite red and is difficult to miss, but this time it was a dark grey red.
    It was magical!
    I stayed up until after 4 to watch it slowly come back, but by then it was in a position where I could see it from my window.
    It was one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever seen!

  6. I was up with you watching the moon and it was such a lovely thing. It was warm here – 50 degrees F (10 degrees C). I want to thank you so much for the inspiration to donate to Doctors Without Borders and for keeping the tally going.

  7. And a Happy Solstice to you as well. Today is also my sister’s birthday, and she was born with a caul, and her first born daughter was born on Halloween. I come from a very superstitious Irish family and all of these are wonderful wonderful things.

  8. I’m the go-to person of my friends when it comes to astronomical observances, alas, our 350 a year clear sky days/nights did NOT include last night. Such a disappointment for New Mexico, but in a few days… we’ll see a difference. I’m glad that you got to see it! Happy Yuletide!

  9. I am quite disappointed, as I thought that eclipse was TONIGHT since I just heard “full moon eclipse on the solstice” though, of course, 3 am still counts. Having looked quite a bit at celebration and associated things today, the exact moment of the solstic will be at 3:38 PST today.
    We have subdued solstice celebrations planned for today, involving many candles and minimal electricity. And mulled wine. In fact, before I scrolled down, I thought that yarn bowl was a candle, which seemed a very apropros gift. I hope that you have a soothing rest of the solstice and thank you for continuing to lead the TSF/KWB charge.

  10. We were so sad….. set the alarm, got up and found the clouds had set in here, and no eclipse was to be seen. Still, it was a little bit magical just to be out and looking at the new snow and the sky…..

  11. The lunar eclipse was beautiful in the clear cold skies in New Jersey. Solstice gathering tonight at dusk.
    Does it count that I pledged $25.00 per month for Doctor’s Without Borders? Not sure how you calculate that. A privilege to donate. Thanks for all you do!

  12. Stephanie,
    I have enjoyed your blog for yrs but never commented before. Do you have a date and location for your next Sock Summit? I was out of the country when the classes opened and was not able to participate in any for 2009, but I really enjoyed the booths and the thousands of knitters I saw. I want to be part of the 2011 Summit rather then standing on the sidelines.

  13. We, too, had cloud cover and instead of seeing the eclipse or the full moon we had four inches of snow. As much as I love the idea of solstice, I know in reality the days won’t seem much longer until my youngest birthday – 10 February. He was born on the first day of Chinese new year, which seems fitting to me.

  14. Thanks for the reminder of the Solstice. I dread the getting darker and I can’t wait for the light to return. I’ve been waiting for this day. 🙂

  15. “The light is coming.” What a simple, lovely, profound statement. Thanks, Steph, some of us needed this today.

  16. While you are waiting for the light, I am delighted about its departure. The dawn chorus starts about 5am, and the nuclear blast of sunrise is a particularly rude awakening. I am getting a bit sleep deprived and cranky.
    From a Southern Hemisphere (Australian) neighbour, handing you the Sun Baton.

  17. My father would always remind us about the longest or the shortest day and whenever either comes around, I always think of him. He is sick today and needs the extra long night so he won’t feel guilty about going to bed so early.

  18. Return of the light indeed. We’re going home tonight for our ritual reading of Owl Moon. I’m thankful that 7 y.o. still thinks it’s not too baby-ish for him. Also, somehow my local paper thinks we’ll have another solstice eclipse in 2094, which my kids with their excellent longevity genes might just get to see. I hope daughter remembers watching this one with her dad.

  19. Steph,
    I ,too, am thrilled that the solstice has arrived. It will be great to have more daylight each day. However, you need to know, even on the darkest of days, I read your posts and see the light of laughter and warmth of a caring person. You truly bring light to all of us! Have a wonderful holiday.

  20. The moon is magical mystical thing to behold, last night it was especially so as we snuggled under blankets in a flat bed trailer in our pasture.
    What a wonderful thing that so many are giving to KWB!

  21. Cloud cover here meant I stood in the icy wasteland that used to be the UK staring at nothing. So I dashed inside and used the power of a keyboard to view the eclipse on line, and mighty fine it was.
    I have 3 pairs of curtains to make before 24th December, 2 pairs of socks to finish and an aran vest, which needs half the front and the armhole and neck ribbing … I definitely need longer days!
    Here comes summer …

  22. We had an abundance of snow falling last night so I missed the excitement. But I do love the idea that the days will get longer…although I do love a long night….

  23. There’s magic in the solstice – and wonder in the light. But the rest we get in the quiet darkness of Winter makes makes the summer all the more beautiful.

  24. Woke with the best intentions, until I looked out my window only to be greeted by blowing snow. Maybe the snow was part of an overnight Solstice celebration to welcome the light.
    Welcome to the light!

  25. Happy Solstice to you, as well! It always brings me a feeling of hope and joy. (And I loved Dee at 4:28’s comment about handing over the Sun Baton!)

  26. I wish I had thought to view the eclipse online like a few of the other readers. We had snow coming down (yeah!), which, of course, completely obscured the moon and stars (boo!). I’m glad that the days are getting longer. It is easier to get up at 5 am if you know that the sun will be out soon.

  27. My husband and I also watched the lunar eclipse. Here in south Florida we had a cloudless sky and the stargazing was excellent. It was an awesome sight – the heavens are so vast and yet I felt at one with the universe. It was a very special experience.

  28. Summer solistice here, and 81% humdity, whew. These are the days and nights when this person in their fifth decade and no air-conditioning turns to and embraces sleeveless and strapless garments for the first time in her life. Last night sleep was achieved with nakedness and the duvet cover only sometimes draped over portions of me. Man it is hot.
    Our outdoor painter friend always finds great solace in the winter solistice – as though life is a bit more bearable with the coming light.

  29. Just got to see a glimpse of the beginning of the eclipse. We have been rained on so much over the past week here in northern California, we have set some records. So I decided not to set the alarm for the middle of the night, only to awake and find us totally socked in as the weather forecasters predicted. I have a hard time sleeping so couldn’t imagine being so disappointed and cold at midnight, only to be awake for the rest of the night. Yup. It happens all too often.
    Thanks for the reminder of Knitters Without Borders. I’m behind making my end of year online donations, and KWB is one of my favorites.

  30. We were luckier with the timing on our side of the Pond! Watched the eclipse when I got up this morning (you can see some photos on my blog!) Lucky winners! I’ve given twice in the last 2 years, but never had an email. I guess you don’t have the time to acknowledge every single person!

  31. My husband went outside in the middle of the night last night with the regard to “look at the moon” (a phrase that rarely escapes his lips). So, he and I went out in the cold and wet to catch a glimpse of the missing moon- we caught it a bit late (or early? not sure which), where there was just a sliver of it on the edge. Still, it was really cool. Happy Solstice!

  32. “All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
    This Shortest Day,
    As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
    They carol, feast, give thanks,
    And dearly love their friends,
    And hope for peace.
    And now so do we, here, now,
    This year and every year.
    Welcome Yule!” — Susan Cooper

  33. I have one of the Knitwitch’s yarn bowls and met her husband who makes them and they are fabulous. Not only useful but beautiful too… (Actually I have 2. And bought for my sisters as well…)

  34. I’ve been saying for years that the true meaning of Christmas is that it’s not going to keep getting colder and darker forever.
    Glad you saw the eclipse; I was foiled by cloud cover. And sleep.
    I hope you find the missing socks!
    Holiday love to all.

  35. I can’t wait for the 3 mins a day of extra light to mean that I wake up in daylight at 6 am – or eat dinner in daylight at 5 pm – again. I know it will happen in the bitter depths of late January and early February; and that spring will follow a couple of months later. Darkness is not my friend in the winter, but your blog brings good cheer and laughter whenever I read it.
    Thank you!
    Happy Winter Solstice!

  36. Even though it was cloudy when I went to bed, I decided to be an optimist and set the alarm. I was not disappointed! The solstice lunar eclipse was beautiful, watched in the same middle-of-the-night uniform everyone else was wearing – pajamas and boots. I even got a bonus – saw a meteor too! Happy solstice to everyone.

  37. A very happy solstice to you too, dear, and thanks so much for sharing yourself with us the way you do!
    That was indeed a most fabulous eclipse, and though most full moons keep my family awake, last night we all slept comme les bebes- I think it’s a good omen for the coming year!

  38. During all those years I lived in south Texas, I kind of forgot about the solstices — summer and winter — because the days they are so much more equal in length. Now that I’m back further, the only thing that gets me through the winter is the knowledge that, no matter how cold it is, I know spring is coming because each day is just a tiny bit longer.

  39. Hee, I just lit our solstice candles with the shortest boy. It’s a fun little tradition, and I love seeing his face light up when he knows it’s the right night, the longest night.

  40. Too much stuff to love. I love that your neighbor was out enjoying the eclipse too. Love the patterns that were donated. Love to see the sidebar total creep up. Love the return of Light, however slow it is.

  41. Happy Solistice to you, Yarn Harlot! I have always loved the solstice and while it will be nice to get longer days, I have to admit that, as a knitter, there’s just something wonderful and cozy about hunkering down on a cold, dark evening to knit – it definitely makes the long winter months more bearable.

  42. This is the day I live for…my heart is buoyed by the thought of even a fraction more light in the day. My kids think I am crazy, but they are teenagers, so what else would I expect.

  43. I love the solstice so much that I got married on Dec. 21st AND I give the solstice service every year at my Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. In fact, today marks my 10 year wedding anniversary (on the solstice!!!! Yay!!!!)

  44. And Happy Solstice to you, too! Clouds covered the skies last night, so i chose to sleep. Woke up to snow changing over to rain.
    I look forward to the days getting longer and finishing my first pair of socks by Christmas!

  45. Our news reported that the next solstice with lunar eclipse will occur in 2094. So, some of the lucky little buggers that are still very young to see their first MAY be around for their second! How cool is that?

  46. I would so love to just watch you knit. It would be interesting to see how fast your fingers move around the needles and yarn. I’m so slow its not even funny.

  47. in the days leading up to the solstice, i feel a kind of panic as the days grow shorter and darker and i feel like it will never end. now, as the days grow almost imperceptively longer, there’s a kind of peaceful waiting – knowing that the days really are growing longer. then that magical day in early february when i suddenly realize that we are having our dinner and IT’S NOT DARK!
    glad yule to you!

  48. Lightly snowing last night, so no eclipse viewing for us. However, more light every day is a wonderful thing. You and Natalie are doing a great job on keeping track of the total.

  49. Good solstice to you and yours. I find myself loving the quiet deep dark and longing for sun. Grass. Greener. You are a kind and generous soul.

  50. Happy Solstice to you! I knew something was up when I got an email that my donation from nearly a year ago had been added to the total. It made me smile. I’m glad that all this karma is making you smile too.

  51. No eclipse for Cincinnati…too many clouds. I, too, have hope for longer days and eventually glorious springtime! Merry Christmas, Stephanie, you make our world a little lighter each day!

  52. Thank you and thanks to Natalie for all that you do!
    It feels here like the whole earth is lighting up at the birth of our first grandchild yesterday–he is certainly lighting up our world. It’s all about love, and each new person coming into this earth gathers it up and holds it out and brings it to us from everywhere.

  53. I received a Knit Witch knitting bowl for Christmas last year. I use it all the time, and absolutely love it!

  54. ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod. THAT IS A HOCKEY PLAYING BEAVER. THAT I CAN KNIT. my mouse can not click me over there quickly enough.
    neat post, happy solstice. gotta go. got beaver patterns to buy.

  55. Last night my husband and I stood in our back yard in OUR bathrobes and watched the moon turn reddish-orange. The college boys and their girlfriends who rent the house next door were also out (still fully clothed in jeans and sweaters, tending their firepit and enjoying some beer. Ah, youth.) I took some blurry pictures.
    I realized that, at approximately the same time that was happening, the sun was coming up over Stonehenge and all the other, lesser-known stone circles of the Celts. I love the Solstice. The longer days are nice, but down here I don’t consider future heat a “promise.” What I do love is the connectedness the Solstice gives me to so many generations of humans gone by, so many generations who have stood in wonder at the workings of the Universe. It humbles me. It calms me. It centers me. It is a good thing. The return of the light is the return of hope — not just hope for warm weather for folks in more bitter climes, but hope for another year, a new year, a better year. I’ve never understood why calendars are not set so that the Solstice is New Year’s Day, because, quite literally, it is.

  56. It was too cloudy to see the eclipse where I was. The best I could do was note that I could see a bit of the light from the moon behind the haze earlier in the evening, and the light was gone at eclipse-time. Of course, that could just mean the cloud cover had gotten heavier!
    Luckily I was still awake packing for Christmas travel and didn’t wake up specifically to see it.

  57. So sad to have missed the eclipse. It was overcast here, and snowing lightly. When I told my 13 yo son that there would be a full lunar eclipse on the solstice and first day of winter, he said, “whoa holy pagan energy!” I thought that was pretty sweet! Feel the power of mother earth and sister moon! Enjoy!

  58. Happy Solstice, Stephanie!
    I may not have seen the lunar eclipse, but I was there for it, with visions of eclipses I’ve seen in the past.
    I’ve made my gift to Doctors Without Borders an ongoing one – $7.50 each month charged to my card. I love knowing that I’m adding to the drip, drip, drip effect of ongoing, stable funding for this organization,

  59. sigh…we totally missed the eclipse here. It’s been pouring rain for days (at least, we THINK it’s rain. We’re not sure since we’ve only heard about the phenomenon, not seen it for ourselves before. I’m under the bed until it’s over.
    Soggy in SoCal.

  60. We live so far north our shortest day of light was 4 hours and 16 minutes. Today the day after sunlight has increased about 5 seconds. I love the change of the seasons . . . it connects us to the wonderful world around us outside!

  61. I bundled up and sat outside on our back deck and watched the moon slowly disappear in the shadow.. well when I could anyway, it was cloudy and rainy, but the clouds did part from time to time so I could see the eclipse. It was well worth staying up for.
    And I got TWO of those lovely yarn bowls as christmas gifts this year and I LOVE THEM!

  62. Blessed Solstice, Lady!
    The clouds were too thick to see anything, so instead we had candles, hot cocoa and sourdough bread. And I knitted socks for Christmas presents.

  63. I missed the eclipse, but love that so many people enjoyed it. Solstice really means something special up north, it means that we are half way through the polar night and in four weeks the sun will peak above the horizon again.
    Happy winter solstice, and keep lightning up the dark!

  64. Your support of Doctors Without Borders via Knitters Without Borders prompted me to make my first donation a couple of years ago. Then I donated for the relief effort in Haiti and now it’s a monthly automatic donation that our family makes. You have done so much for this organization in raising awareness of it and bringing in donations. I used to work for a charity and opening the envelopes from elderly people with the shaky handwriting and a small donation that you knew was all or more than they could afford often brought tears to my eyes. It’s those small amounts that are often the most meaningful.
    Thanks Steph!

  65. Sadly out here in Oregon, the clouds and trees kept the moon from view. A happy Solstice to all!

  66. I watched the eclipse from my back garden and it was wonderful. More surprising (and wonderful since we rarely get along) was that my stepson joined me and we both got cricks in our necks watching and waiting for the full red eclipse.
    Happy Solstice! Here comes the sun!

  67. PS: Donation made, and I have sent an email to you as per instructed on your KWB page.
    I’ve also linked to your KWB page on my blog — I’m having trouble figuring out how to anchor the button to my WordPress.com page, but the words are there, and the link works. I figure that spreading the word is just as important as the donation itself, maybe even more.
    I am ever so grateful to learn about KWB. Thank you for the information.
    It felt so right, so wonderful, to donate to KWB today — a gift to my soul for the holidays. I plan to donate throughout the year, whenever possible.
    Blessings to us all!

  68. Doh, I totally forgot to send my updates for my monthly donations. Thanks for the reminder. Same with the Solstice, as work has been so insane that I forgot to acknowledge it until the evening.
    Back to knitting for Christmas for me.

  69. Dear Stephanie,
    Thanks for this blog post. I felt like it was a really big thanks for my recent donation. Natalie did send me a very thoughtful e-mail which of course counts too especially since I have met her at the shop and she was very nice and helpful too which of course goes to the fact that she is not faking it ( and I know I write terrible run on sentences). It is still nice to hear from the WOMAN herself. So again, thanks. And again, please remember there are at least 10 other rational normal people behind me ( the whole knitting group) who think you re terrific and belly laugh funny and do not deserve to be beaten down by some weird stalker.

  70. One of the things that I love about this blog, besides your insights of course, is that I find people who get as excited about things as I do. When I mentioned the joy of the shortest day at work, I received blank stares and half-felt smiles. Here on your blog others share the same excitement. Thank you Stephanie for bringing us together.
    I missed the actual eclipse, too cloudy, and saw it on-line (so not the same). My dad would wake us up or keep us up to see eclipses and satellite launches, I, too, connect these events to fond memories.
    Peace, blessings, and hope!

  71. Special solstice celebration this year, as it was the night of the school concert. I got to say “Happy Solstice, everybody” to an auditorium full of proud families. It was wonderful – we made light in the darkness a theme!

  72. It was cold and clear, but it was worth it. Not only was the moon spectacular, the stars were bright, and the meteor shower (normally too dim to be seen) was visible as well. Lovely. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  73. Solstice is also my grandaughter’s birthday. She was 1 year old on Tuesday. What better way to celebrate the return of the light.

  74. Thanks for reminding me to make my christmas MSF donation! Things have been hectic recently and I just forgot.
    I had my second baby at home on the 20th, so he missed out on being the Solstice Baby, but it’s nice to know the eclipse was thenabouts. (Cloud obscured it in my part of the UK! But to be honest, was too busy feeding, sleeping and saying ‘ouch’ to check it out.)

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