From the very first time we read The Tomten, we knew we had one in our midst. (If you’re not yet familiar with the benevolent gnome-like guy who tends to the livestock, speaks their language, and fends off foxes, secretly, through the piercing cold of winter, run out to your local library this minute and pick up a copy. We also love The Tomten and The Fox.)
If you piece together all the evidence – the innate rapport with animals, the short stature, the affinity for porridge, the long white beard – you’ll no doubt agree that Master Errol bears a striking resemblance to the Swedish elf. (except for his nose, which we trust will grow to Tomten stature as he ages) When I came upon Elizabeth Zimmermann’s knitting pattern for the Tomten jacket…well, it was settled. The Boy would be The Tomten for Halloween and every time he donned the jacket thereafter. I think it was about a year ago that I decided this – I was spinning my way through the giant bag of random grey wool that came with my used spinning wheel and the serendipity of it all made way for the logical conclusion of a handspun, handknit jacket. Which I am still nonchalantly working on, though Halloween is but a mere week away. The wool is not the softest, but it is sure to be strong and pill-resistant – perfect for outerwear like this. I plan on lining the jacket with some kind of fun fabric from my stash, eliminating the itch factor completely. I also plan on finishing the hood, knitting the sleeves, and sewing in a zipper. And the hat! Also handspun, (from a delicious red blend of corriedale wool) it’s a pattern I’m making up on the fly, with mixed success. Still, it will be warm, soft, and satisfactorily Tomten-like, come Halloween.
I think it was Amy Karol’s blog, Angry Chicken, where I first learned of the quirky fellow. And I don’t know how many times I had read The Tomten before it clicked that the author, Astrid Lindgren, was the same Astrid Lindgren of Pippi Longstocking fame. Aha. Well, it just so happens that we’re happily nestled within the pages of Pippi right now, and after some gentle persuasion, The Girl agreed that the freckled heroine would make the best choice for a Halloween costume. And as such, my evil plot for a book-born, Astrid Lindgren Halloween shall come to fruition, though the “handspun, handknit” part of said plan might have to be amended for constraints of time and reality. (I had entertained visions of knitting mis-matched Pippi stockings, long ones.)
Evil plot alert: Isadora’s Halloween celebrations begin in two days and we’ve not even assembled a single freckle of the costume. Mount the troops!