Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The One Good Thing

This is what I woke up to yesterday. Yes, I know it's very pretty.



But winter has lost its charm for me at this point. Yes, snow is very, very pretty - for that first hour or two after it first falls. And yes, the occasional ice storm can be breathtaking with its austere beauty - if it doesn't also leave you without power. And yes, having four seasons is charming, especially compared to having only two seasons - hot and humid, and less hot and humid. But y'all, I am not cut out for this mess. My Scotch-Irish-English blood needs some sort of foggy green glen, or lush rolling countryside, or even windy, craggy coastland.

As far as I'm concerned, when winter has gone on this long, there is only one good thing about it left: accoutrements.


If you can't beat the grey, join it.


pattern: Natty (Ravelry link) by Wendy Bernard
yarn: Malabrigo Chunky, in Polar Morn, roughly 3/4 skein
needles: KP Options and Addi Turbos, size 9 for ribbing and size 11 for the rest
[I don't own size 11 dpns, so I magic-looped this when it got too small for the circular)
cast on: January 29
finished: January 31
modifications: This is written with reversible cables (you cable the purl panels as well as the knit ones). I tried that at first but I didn't really like the puckered look of the purl sections. I also don't really need a cap to be reversible. Since the cap as written was too short for my enormous noggin, I had to rip and re-do anyway. So when I started over, I knit it without the reversible cables. In extending the hat, I also ended up throwing in an extra cable at the end. That was unintentional, but I decided to keep it.
notes: I LOVE this hat. This is the first hat I have knit for myself. Until I moved to Michigan, hats were foreign to me (except for the wide-brimmed, Sunday dress variety which I did in fact wear one Easter when I was a teenager). For my first seven winters here, I wore one of two store-bought cloche-type hats. I like them quite a bit, but there is a problem - they do not cover the ears. I've gotten to the point where I am tired of cold ears, especially when I have playground duty at my sons' preschool. So I figured it was high time I knit myself a hat. You wouldn't believe how many patterns I studied and considered before finally settling on this one. There are so many beautiful hat patterns out there! So many I still want to try. This one is stretchy enough to accomodate all my big hair, and long enough to cover my ears. Plus, I love me some cables, especially some big fat ones. Also, Malabrigo Chunky? I love it even more than the original worsted variety. And that is saying a lot. I am still not used to the flat hair I get from wearing this hat more than a few minutes, but other than that, I am pretty thrilled with it.

pattern: Natty Neckwarmer, my own
yarn: Malabrigo Chunky, Polar Morn, leftovers, plus Malabrigo Worsted, Polar Morn, doubled, roughly half a skein
needles: KP Options, size 11
cast on: February 13
bound off: February 15
notes: I didn't have the time or inclination to make a whole scarf. I got a beautiful new charcoal grey boiled wool coat for Christmas (not the one in the pictures here) that had a neckline that wouldn't easily accomodate a scarf without looking bulky. So I thought a neckwarmer was in order. Since I loved the chunky cables of my Natty hat so much, I decided to echo those in the neckwarmer. After some experimentation, I got it right, and just knit in a tube till I ran out of yarn. I had to use the rest of my Malabrigo worsted in Polar Morn, doubled, to have enough, and the shade is definitely different, but not enough to bother me. In the end, I was ridiculously happy with the result.


Mmmm, now I can smell wool all I want.


pattern: Super Mittens (Ravelry link), Weekend Knitting
yarn: Malabrigo Chunky, in Polar Morn, about 3/4 skein
needles: size 9 dpns
cast on: February 10
bound off: February 11
modifications: none, except using a smaller needle size (because that's what I had and I didn't mind a tighter gauge) [unintentional modification: made second mitten slightly shorter than first]
notes: I have been wanting my own pair of mittens for awhile now. I haven't worn mittens since I was a child, thinking gloves more practical. I wore my gloves during the first snowfall this season, while I played outside with the boys. I thought my hands were going to fall off, they were so cold and wet after just a little bit of handling of snow. Turns out my gloves are acrylic! I realized that wool mittens would be much more practical for snow play. These fit the bill, and went beyond expectations. A super simple, super QUICK knit - finished first mitten the night I started it, finished the second one the next morning. And they are unbelievably warm. And soft!!


They deal with the snow way better than I do.


I am in love with these.


I once told someone I wouldn't use Malabrigo for mittens because of how soft and pilly it is. I didn't think it would stand up to the wear-and-tear such a garment takes. It's true that they are pilly, but it turns out that they are just starting to felt (full?) a bit, which makes them even more snow-proof. And the inside? the pilling is bliss. Soooo soft.

Yup, I love me some accoutrements.


But I'm still not happy about all the winter.

9 comments:

Rebekah said...

Wow! You are all set to go for the rest of this winter! I love the hat pattern that you used. I think it might even be on my ravelry queue...if not, it will be today : )

Allegra said...

very nice ensemble!

Camping Jason said...

I totally feel you on winter sucking. I'm sick to death of shoveling my driveway and sidewalk every two weeks. The worst thing about it all though? It's cold all over the country. So it's not like we could escape even for a short weekend in warm weather. *sigh*

Totally dig your coordinating accessories. I need another neckwarmer, one that I can pull up over my face like you have. And I need some Malabrigo! hahaha

zigzagstitch said...

Living in NC I plead for snow all winter. But I do remember how awful it can be living where snow is continuous.

Your knits are glorious.

Dave said...

Gorgeous knits. I hope you won't have to wear them all that much longer. :-)

Beth said...

I can definitely comisserate on the suckyness of winter here in Michigan. This one especially has been brutal. The malabrigo helps though :) Lovely set of accessories though :)

Songbird said...

Sweet! It's snowing here again...

Kathryn said...

Having had no lasting snow at all this winter, I'm struggling to sympathise...but will do my best.
And I offer diversion in the shape of the "middle name meme" here

spinkelman said...

Hi, just came across your blog. I'm from Atlanta and live in AA now. I'm a knitter and have two kids. My sister is an episcopal priest (I saw the you are a minister?). Just a note to say cheers to southerners knitting and coping in Michigan!