Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Making Monday and Making Winter - neeps and knives

This is a combined Making Monday and Making Winter post. Making Monday is, I suppose, slightly on hiatus because our glorious leader, Natalie of the Yarn Yard who started it, is away on holiday, snowed-in in Boston last I heard, but it's a good blogging habit now. Making Winter is silverpebble's and thriftyhousehold's idea for this winter, in an attempt to embrace the winter. I don't really have a problem with the winter, which is probably just as well, and Hallowe'en is the first episode of winter fun for me. Anything involving fire is pretty much a good thing in the winter - neepie lanterns at Hallowe'en, bonfires and fireworks on Guy Fawkes night, candles at Christmas, and then the most incandescent of the lot, Up Helly Aa, enjoyed vicariously by webcam!

Yesterday afternoon was spent doing one of my favourite things - making neepie lanterns. I pushed the boat out that this year (at 50p a neep I think I can manage it just this once) and made two. One was for putting in the living-room window and one to take out with us when we went out guising.


A neep is much harder work than a pumpkin and I always have skinned knuckles or blisters or both to show for it, but it's really worth the effort. Hallowe'en isn't Hallowe'en without the smell of singed neep!

This is my preferred method - slice the top off and cross-hatch the flesh with a sharp knife. This makes it easier to start gouging it out.

After that it's a bit of a free-for-all - knife, spoon, swear-words, all have their place. These two didn't actually take all that long to do.

This year I managed to convince the Boy to come out guising with us - it's not usually his cup of tea but I pointed out that he only gets few years to do this as a kid so he should enjoy it while he can. And actually he got quite into the spirit of it once we'd cobbled together a hobbit costume for him (brown Jedi robe that My Beloved had made for him from a bit of scrap brown material ages ago, One Ring on a bit of leather, wooden sword). We were going out with my friend and her kids and we all dressed up. I was a pirate, nicking the waistcoat and velvet jacket my husband wore at our wedding and the Jacobite shirt he wears with his kilt. Miss Mouse was a fairy, my friend was a rather slinky red devil and my husband dug out his re-enactment kit and was a mediaeval knight. Last year it was a beautiful night - clear, not too cold, dry and not windy but this year unfortunately it was bucketing down, so Frodo and the fairy had to wear raincoats on top of their costumes. We had a great time though! Much silliness..


The one on the left, with the handle, is the one that came out with us, though unfortunately it was so rainy I couldn't keep the candle alight, even with the neep's 'lid' on. I like his cheery expression - I don't like to make them too scarey!

11 comments:

blurofwoodsmoke said...

The neeps look nice and friendly!

Peeriemoot said...

He's got quite a jaunty smile hasn't he :-).

Annie said...

Aha, Turnip Lanterns! I thought my Gran's recipe for All Hallow's Jam, which calls for turnip or pumpkin, was old, but maybe it's Scottish (her ancestors came from Perth).
I'm so with you on all festivals involving fire. We have friends on Shetland and hope to move there ourselves eventually when hopefully we'll be enjoying Up Helly Aa for real

Peeriemoot said...

Hello Annie :-). I hope you get to Up Helly Aa soon! It's the most amazing spectacle. I haven't been at it since I moved south as a student but the webcam is the next best thing!

silverpebble said...

Hurray for proper jack-o-lanterns complete with wrinkles and beards!

Pomona said...

Love your neepie lanterns! Unlike you, I have a big problem with winter, so that's why I have joined in Making Winter!

Pomona x

Planet Penny said...

I like the idea of turnip lanterns, they look slightly more sinister and wintery and Baldrick would love one! Having said that, yours did have a cheery look in his eye!
Penny x

Trekky said...

Wowzers. You must have a sharp knife & very strong arms!

Peeriemoot said...

Trekky, a willingness to get scraped knuckles is the most important thing :-D. I have considered sharpening the edge of a spoon but I think it might end in tears (mine).

Julie said...

Now I'm feeling like a light-weight for having abandoned neeps for pumpkins - but I'm not sure I can face my kids handling big knives the way me and my brothers used to...I well remember all the cuts and skinned knuckles we used to get! Good for you! Juliex

Peeriemoot said...

Hello Julie :-). I was thinking I might let the kids have a go at pumpkin next year while I stick to the neep - there's no way I'd let my two loose with a neep! My dad always did our neeps so I do think of it as a grown-up job - but really it's just that I like doing it :-D.