As a child, I loved to open ona little bag from the Advent calendar every morning. My mother had sewn it herself and lovingly filled it. These memories are among the best of my childhood - because there was so much love, anticipation and magic. That's why I'm still a big fan of Advent calendars today. And so it was clear to me that my children should also get one: a self-knitted Advent calendar.
I also like to sew, and with the sewing machine, 24 bags would have been quickly finished. But I love knitting the most, so I was delighted when I found the free instructions of Julevotter on Ravelry. It is in Norwegian, but thanks to the charts, I was able to follow it very well without any knowledge of the language. (Unfortunately, this pattern can no longer be downloaded. But we have found another beautiful one, in English.) Translated, Julevotter means "Christmas mittens," and that's precisely what they look like: tiny mittens, only without thumbs. Each little bag is a piece of art.
On the front, the numbers 1 to 24 are embedded as jacquard elements, while the backs are also all designed in different patterns. It's an absolute joy to knit this advent calendar.
On the one hand, you can play wonderfully with colours. I didn't stick to the instructions but searched for beautiful colour combinations in my wool scraps. In addition to neutral light tones, I chose bold colours to create a strong contrast and make the designs stand out. So one calendar is berry-purple-dusky pink, and the other has a blue-green colour scheme. Both are similar and yet as individual as the children who now get to empty these little bags every year.
On the other hand, the different patterns are really fun! Each little bag has its own design that can be completed comfortably in one evening. You start with the colour choice and then get to know a new Norwegian pattern with each bag. Some you'll remember right away, others require more attention. Every single bag is like a tiny new knitting adventure. And you have a constant sense of accomplishment because, in no time, another one is finished. I loved collecting them and spreading them out again and again to see what colours I'd choose for the next mini mitten...
This brings me to the next reason why I like this Advent calendar so much: With each additional bag that jumps off the needle, the anticipation of the moment when it is finished and hanging on the wall, lovingly filled, and the children find it with shining eyes grows. Or even the partner, the mother, the girlfriend. We are all never too old for an Advent calendar! It's all about making a beloved person happy. And that simply feels great.
First of all, however, we bring joy to ourselves. Because the Julevotters are not only beautiful for the recipients but also represent the perfect knitting Advent calendar for ourselves. So how about knitting a little bag every day during this year's Advent? A little knitting meditation for the time before Christmas. Make yourself comfortable for an hour every evening with warm socks, a cosy blanket and hot tea, and knit the number of the day. And while you're at it, come to peace and get into the spirit of Advent. Because that's what it's all about - contemplation.
The fact that you then have a wonderful Advent calendar ready on Christmas Eve, bringing lots of joy next year, is a great side effect. Now you have all the time in the world to collect beautiful little things to fill it in peace.
Although my own children are already taken care of, I will definitely knit another Julevotter Advent calendar - of course, only so that my little nephew can also be happy. ;-)
In this spirit: Happy Knitting and a tranquil Advent season!